Don’t Pick up the Soap!
By: Boston Woodard
The California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 15, Division 3 (rules governing California’s prison system) explains in Section 3007 under "Sexual Behavior" that:
"Inmates may not participate in illegal sexual acts. Inmates are specifically excluded in laws, which remove restraints from acts between consenting adults. Inmates must avoid deliberately placing themselves in situations and behaving in a manner, which is designed to encourage illegal sexual acts."
A July 18, 2008 memorandum signed by R.K. Wong (Chief Deputy Warden Solano State Prison) for Warden D.K. Sisto, explains that a "Warden’s Forum" will be held on 7/22/08 and 7/24/08. One of the topics that was discussed was "The Sexual Barrier Device Pilot Project" (TSBDPP). What the memorandum did not reveal was that the TSBDPP is a program that will begin handing out condoms to a group of prisoners in Solano State Prison. This gives a whole new meaning to the old aphorism; "Don’t pick up the soap!"
OK, let’s talk about this for a minute. As you read above, the rules clearly dictate that it is a crime to indulge in any sort of sexual contact with other prisoners. The rule reads, "...avoid... situations.., designed to encourage illegal sexual acts."
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will be telling the public that issuing rubbers to prisoners is to help prevent the spread of the HIV and the Hepatitis C viruses. There is no doubt these enfeebling viruses are a huge problem behind prison walls; no one disputes that. There are other more virulent activities in prison, in comparison to the occasional occurrence of prisoners having sex, that eclipse the number of those being infected with viruses.
Shooting dope! Why doesn’t the CDCR stop this method of spreading deadly infections by passing out clean needles? Drugs are illegal just like sex is behind prison walls. What is the legal difference between passing out needles or passing out condoms? There is no legal difference! Providing a source of protection (condoms) to one activity that spreads a virus and not to another, more predominant cause of infection (like dirty needles), is profoundly equivocal and takes attention away from the real problem. It is well known that as many as a dozen people will use the same needle in prison. New, clean needles would help stop the spread of these deadly infections.
Tattooing is another immense problem concerning the spreading of infections and diseases in prison. Every other person in prison has a tattoo or ten. Why not set up a controlled program where a prisoner can obtain a tattoo in a germ-free environment, replete with approved, and sanitized tattooing equipment? The system will pay for itself as prisoners would be required to purchase the artwork with their own funds. Where is the logic in not promoting this disease prevention program?
Another scenario to consider, and it’s not as far fetched as it will sound, is the occurrence of a prisoner being raped; sodomized or forced into oral sex. The offender will now have access to a cover up with the assistance of the new prisoner condom program, provided by the CDCR and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The offender can obtain a free condom, perpetrate the crime, then flush the DNA/evidence into oblivion. Then it’s one prisoner’s word against another. Won’t that be interesting in a court room trial. Should the prison staff member who issued the condom be an accomplice to the sex crime? How about the warden? Should he or she be implicated vicariously for assisting and providing the means to destroy evidence?
Will it take this type of situation to make prison officials, the federal medical receiver, and the governor to understand that a prison condom program is an asinine one? Have they ever heard of prioritizing? Passing out condoms will not ameliorate an effort to slow down or stop the spreading of potentially deadly diseases. There are more negatives than positives to this new condom scheme.
Spending tax payers money on a free condom program, promoting and condoning illegal sex among prisoners is just plain bizarre and way off beat, even for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Boston Woodard is a prisoner/journalist who wrote for The San Quentin News, The Soledad Star and edited the Communicator.
Boston Woodard, B—88207
CSP—Solano, 1 3-F-8-Is
P.O. Box 4000
Vacaville, CA. 95696—4000
You can read Boston’s previous articles here:
It Ain’t So Funny When the Rabbit Has the Gun
Wednesday Aug 13th, 2008
Arts in Corrections
Tuesday Jul 1st, 2008
Appealing the Impossible
Sunday May 18th, 2008
published: Wednesday Apr 23rd, 2008
Published: Friday Apr 11th, 2008 2:37 PM
The Shell Game
Published: Thursday Mar 27th, 2008
Medical Snafu, Ongoing Prison Problem
Published: Thursday Feb 14th, 2008
Parole Board Pillory
Published: Sunday Dec 16th, 2007
Hog-Tied (The Transferring of Sophanareth Sok)
Published: Thursday Oct 4th, 2007
Foreign National Prisoners, Targeted For Out-Of-State Transfers
Published: Saturday Sep 1st, 2007
" H 0 R R I F I E D "
Published: Sunday Aug 19th, 2007
Published: Friday Jun 8th, 2007
The Parole Conundrum
Published: Monday Dec 18th, 2006