Sick call | Arkansas Blog

Sick call

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Betsey Wright has forwarded me some information on HB 1444 by Rep. Fred Allen, up in committee tomorrow, that will require testing and treatment of prison inmates for HIV, TB and sexually transmitted disease before they may be released on parole. It sounds like public protection at first blush.

But think about it. If inmates are getting adequate care, shouldn't testing and treatment be routine while prisoners are incarcerated.? Is it constitutional to delay a prisoner's release date on account of a health condition that has no relationship to the prisoner's sentence or time served? Does the bill promote hysteria about, for instance, HIV, which is not a communicable disease you get from sitting next to someone on a bus? Are parole board members as concerned about detection and treatment of substance abuse and other health problems?

A group lobbying against this bill notes that the bill also allows the parole board to go into secret hearings with inmates. None dare call that sunshine.

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