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Meeting the Challenge AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) Poses for Criminal Justice Professionals

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1988
3 pages
This article reviews two special reports on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) as it relates to corrections and law enforcement agency procedures, and the issues it poses for correctional staff.
The first study reviewed the incidence of AIDS in the Nation's prisons and jails, the range of correctional system responses, and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Current practices were analyzed. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) surveyed all 50 State prison systems, the Federal prison system, and 33 of the largest jails in the United States. Results show 1,232 confirmed AIDS cases among inmates in 58 of the responding systems as of October 1, 1986. Incidence rates ranged, from 5 to 215 per 100,000 in States and Federal correctional systems, with two-thirds of the State systems having rates less than 25 per 100,000. Incidence rates were high compared to the general population of the United States, which reported 5.3 cases per 100,000 in 1986, up from 3.4 in 1985. In the second study, NIJ contacted law enforcement operations to determine areas in which they wanted AIDS information and guidance. The study sought to quell rumors and misinformation about the risk to law enforcement personnel of acquiring the AIDS virus through contacts with AIDS risk groups among suspects and offenders. The resulting report provides law enforcement professionals with medical facts about AIDS and applies this information to the day-to-day realities of law enforcement operations. This article also describes other programs NIJ is supporting to help criminal justice professionals cope with the AIDS crisis. Specifically mentioned is the NIJ AIDS Clearinghouse and its new publication series, AIDS Bulletin, which provides basic medical facts about the disease, its causes, transmission, and incidence in the United States.

Date Published: January 1, 1988