Last week, California’s state legislature approved a bill that would provide condoms to prisoners:
Opponents of the current bill maintain that supplying condoms for inmates when inmate sex is on the books as a crime is tantamount to encouraging prisoners to break the law. Correctional officers have also expressed concern that condoms could encourage more sex or be used to conceal or transport weapons—or even be used as a weapon itself (via a phenomenon called “gassing” where bodily fluids are weaponized …look it up). Improper disposal of condoms, they say, could also pose a health risk.
But numerous studies of populations among which condoms are distributed have not observed a rise in security risks, health concerns or in self-reported sex among prisoners. Moreover, studies of prison populations indicate that, legal or not, sex occurs between prisoners and between prisoners and prison guards. Without condoms available, most sex goes unprotected.