Commissioner to push for free condoms in jail - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Commissioner to push for free condoms in jail

Commissioner Henri Brooks Commissioner Henri Brooks

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Shelby County Commissioner is pushing for free condoms at the Shelby County Jail, but Sheriff Mark Luttrell does not support the plan.

Commissioner Henri Brooks says this January she'll bring up a resolution about putting condoms in the jail after studying the effects beyond the jail cell.

"Issuing condoms is just not good, sound correctional philosophy, nor is it good health practice," Luttrell said Wednesday.

Luttrell said he and his staff take extraordinary measures to guard against sex in the jail, and passing out condoms would send a mixed message.

"Sex between inmates is against the law," he said. "It's unhealthy, but if we pass out condoms and say, 'But if you're going to do it, here's a condom' there's a paradoxical situation that develops."

But Brooks says condoms are necessary because sex is happening in the jail.

"You're not supposed to, but just because you're not supposed to doesn't mean it's not happening," she said.

Brooks believes condoms will protect inmates and their families from HIV and AIDS, and insists the infection rate in Shelby County is booming - targeting a certain segment of the population.

"The fastest growing population happens to be African American woman," she said. 
 
Brooks said diseases spread when inmates are released from jail.

"They're getting out, they're coming back to the communities...back to the families...back to the girlfriend and the wife," she said.
 
Brooks said she plans to gather more information from community organizations to make her next resolution more comprehensive, incorporating the entire community.


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