The ACLU is close to ending a 26-year-long battle with the Alabama Department of Corrections to eradicate a policy that segregates HIV-positive inmates and excludes them from certain rehabilitation programs, reports the Montgomery Advertiser. On Tuesday, the first of two fairness hearings — a process required by law when a class-action lawsuit is settled — was held at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala. A second hearing was to be held today at Limestone Correctional Facility.
Since 1987, the ACLU has made several attempts — through litigation and negotiations — to put an end to a policy that segregates inmates with HIV/AIDS. Over the years, multiple judges have upheld the 1990 decision that said the segregation policy didn’t violate the law. But last December, U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson ruled the Alabama policy violated the Americans With Disabilities Act. Female HIV-positive inmates were integrated into the general population at Tutwiler last month, and male inmates will be integrated next year.