Nevada's Department of Corrections will no longer formally discriminate against inmates living with HIV, thanks to a settlement reached with the U.S. Justice Department.
The agreement from Nevada's prison system comes after a sweeping study by the Justice Department concluded nearly five years ago, reports the Nevada Independent. Federal officials found the prison department's "House Alike/House Alone" policy unfairly targeted HIV-positive inmates. The policy translated to inmates with HIV being segregated and at times isolated from the HIV-negative prison population. There is no medical justification for separating prison inmates by HIV status and the practice is opposed by health professionals.
Nevada inmates living with HIV were also denied certain jobs, including in food service, because of misinformation on how the disease is transmitted. Prison officials disclosing the HIV status of certain inmates without their permission was also reported.
As part of the settlement, Nevada prison staff and inmates will now have to undergo training on HIV discrimination and the state's Department of Corrections will implement a grievance process allowing people to formally claim anti-HIV bias.
After the Justice Department reached a similar settlement with South Carolina in 2013, Nevada remained the only state to segregate inmates based on HIV status.
“The routine segregation of inmates with HIV is unnecessary, stigmatizing, and harmful, and the Department of Justice will enforce the [Americans With Disabilities Act] to stop such discrimination,” Pamela Karlan, principal deputy assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.