MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A judge struck down Alabama’s decades-old policy of segregating prison inmates with HIV, ruling Friday that it violates federal law.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled in favor of inmates who filed suit to end the longstanding practice. Thompson says the state’s policy violates federal disabilities law.
Thompson said the state and inmate attorneys will have time to propose a way to bring state prisons into compliance with his order.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of seven HIV-positive inmates, called the decision “historic.” State officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Alabama and South Carolina are the only states that segregate HIV-positive prisoners. The class-action lawsuit accused the state of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
ACLU attorney Margaret Winter, who was lead counsel for the plaintiffs during a month-long trial, called the decision historic.
“It spells an end to a segregation policy that has inflicted needless misery on Alabama prisoners with HIV and their families,” Winter said.