Correctional inmates engage in drug-related and sexual risk behaviors, and the transmission of HIV, hepatitis, and sexually transmitted diseases occurs in correctional facilities. However, there is uncertainty about the extent of transmission, and hyperbolic descriptions of its extent may further stigmatize inmates and elicit punitive responses. Whether infection was acquired within or outside correctional facilities, the prevalence of HIV and other infectious diseases is much higher among inmates than among those in the general community, and the burden of disease among inmates and releases is disproportionately heavy.
A comprehensive response is needed, including voluntary counseling and testing on request that is linked to high-quality treatment, disease prevention education, substance abuse treatment, and discharge planning and transitional programs for releases. General area being studied Sexual activity among inmates is a complex phenomenon that occurs along a continuum, from the entirely consensual to the violently coerced.
The New York Times detailed a gang-run system of sexual slavery in a Texas prison, where at least 1 gay inmate claimed he was bought and sold numerous times and “forced into oral sex and anal sex on a daily basis. 9 Recent federal legislation called for research into the prevalence and patterns of rape and other sexual victimization within correctional facilities to inform policy changes aimed at controlling these abuses. 9 A Human Rights Watch report presented accounts of sexual slavery from inmates in Texas, Illinois, Michigan, California, and Arkansas and asserted that sexual victimization threatens inmates’ essential human rights.
Importance of the studied area Conditions vary widely between correctional facilities and among these conditions is an opportunity for inmates to engage in sexual activity and drug use. Despite the denials of many correctional administrators, sexual activity and illicit drug use do take place in prisons and jails. A survey of inmates in a southeastern state prison system estimated that, on average, 44% of the inmates had sexual contact with other inmates. 1 Studies of US correctional systems published between 1982 and 2002 found that anywhere from 2% to 65% of inmates had homosexual contact while incarcerated. Studies of incoming, current, and former inmates in New York City, Illinois, Canada, Hungary, Thailand, and many other countries showed the prevalence and the riskiness of inmates’ sexual and drug use behaviors. 2–7 Because of the general lack of condoms and sterile needles/syringes, such behavior may involve greater risk within correctional facilities than on the outside. 8 Stated Problem During the early years of the AIDS epidemic, prisons and jails were commonly called breeding grounds for AIDS. Such statements are still made today.
A Google search on May 19, 2005, of the terms breeding ground AND HIV AND prisons yielded more than 800 entries from newspapers, United Nations agencies, AIDS activist groups, and human rights organizations around the world. However intended, such opinions imply that unprotected sex and the sharing of drug injection equipment are rampant in prisons and that these activities commonly result in the transmission of HIV, hepatitis, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Background of problem Overall, there are uncertainties about the extent and the nature of infectious disease transmission within correctional facilities.
Some of the aforementioned studies reached qualitative conclusions about the extent of transmission that are not supported by their analyses. Moreover, even when studies estimated the annual incidence of infection among inmates, the meaning and significance of such figures are not clear. On its face, an annual incidence rate of 0. 5% seems low. Yet, if such rates are applied to the total prison population, or even to that proportion of prisoners who engage in high-risk sexual or drug use behaviors, they may translate into substantial numbers of infections.
However, even such numbers do not justify the use of metaphors such as “breeding ground” to characterize correctional facilities. Although some inmates are clearly being infected as a result of drug-related and sexual risk behaviors while incarcerated, the vast majority of cases among inmates probably are the result of exposure while in the general community. Sexually transmitted diseases are known to be more prevalent in correctional facilities. Although, sexual activity is prohibited in prisons sex acts still takes place.
Transmitted diseases are higher among jail and prison population because inmates do not have access to condoms. Correctional facilities see giving condoms to inmates as encouraging homosexuality. However, numerous local screening studies and several national literature reviews reveal that women specifically girls in juvenile facilities and women in adult correctional facilities are more likely to have a sexually transmitted disease than men in these type facilities (Hammett, 2009).
According, to the HIV and Aids Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Incarceration, among Women National and Southern perspectives study; the prevalence of HIV and other Sexually transmitted diseases are higher amongst female than male population in jail and prison facilities. This study advises the infectious disease HIV is three percent to two percent nationally. However HIV is found to be more common among prisoners released from correctional facilities in the south. In 1999 twenty six percent of people living with HIV were released from prison or jail that year.
The study also reflects fifteen percent of women with HIV were correctional releases; the study also suggests that incarceration rates are higher in the south than majority of other regions and most women with HIV are poor African American women from rural areas (Hammett, 2009). However, one must ask themselves does this study reflect inmates going in to serve a sentence or inmates being released from prison. Because there are several ways in which males can contract HIV.
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