No Condoms in Jaimaican Penal Institutions


So I saw this story about the Jamaican government’s decision not to distribute condoms in their prisons, and I thought that an interesting topic.  Although I’ve no idea how things happen in prisons, we’ve all heard the stories or seen movies like Shawshank Redemption in which we get an idea.  I saw an Oprah show once on which she had a man who had lost all his teeth while in prison.  Just lost ’em, eh?  Even Oprah wondered about that one and looked at him sideways in that disbelieving but I don’t want to call you a liar questioning way that she has.  I’ve seen news magazine shows with segments devoted to the phenomena of heterosexual men engaging (sometimes even by choice) in homosexual sex while incarcerated and then reverting to a strictly heterosexual lifestyle after release (er, from prison, that is).  To hear the media tell it, prison is one large orgy, with inmates having sex with everyone from the laundry delivery folks to the guards (and of course with each other).

And the cases of HIV positive and AIDS patients is rising in prison.  Personally, I think this is at least in part because they are criminals, often in some way associated with drug use, specifically i.v. drug use or with prostitution (since we’re talking about condoms, let’s narrow that to “male prostitution).  So the Jamaican government considered distributing condoms among the prison population; seems reasonable.  If you don’t want them, don’t take them?  Or make water balloons?  Or blow them up and craft balloon animals like at the circus?  But the Jamaican prisoners rioted, incensed at the suggestion that they are homosexual or engaging in sex with members of the same sex.  This seems incredibly foolhardy (or macho); I’d rather die of AIDS, please, than be “labeled.” 

The Times has a story about condom availability in some U. S. prisons, and apparently, one of the keys to the success of the program is that the inmates not feel “judged” by prison officials and can pick up a condom or two at a variety of places within the prison.  I find this intriguing, and it also puts me in a peculiar position in that I have always thought that condoms should be made available to and sex ed taught to teens.  One of my thought processes went along the lines of having condoms available is not a license to have irresponsible or underage sex (kids are doing it anyway, basically). 

But with this prison thing, I find I’m reversing my opinion.  Maybe, just maybe, some of the prisoners are refraining from sex (forced) because they fear AIDS or Hepatitis C, and maybe, just maybe, that fear would be alleviated by free and open access to condoms?  I don’t know, really, and haven’t done much research (er, any), so maybe that’s wrong.  Maybe everyone is randomly and rampantly engaged in sex behind bars?  Why not?  We all saw the footage of Richard Speck living it up in prison, doing drugs, drinking alcohol, prancing in women’s panties, and bouncing his new boobs around–basically enjoying himself a great deal (note:  if you have not seen this footage, it is very disturbing and very graphic, not for the faint of heart).  Speck, you may remember, systematically and brutally killed eight female nursing students in 1966.  So off he goes to prison, where apparently, he was receiving female hormones to change his body (how else the man boobs?), this I can only hope was not billed to the taxpayer, but who knows?  We pay for all sorts of crazy stuff for prisoners. 

I think that if condoms could be made available at the cost we pay at the 7-11, it might be worth doing, but our government can’t seem to understand that $640 is a bit much for a toilet seat (story inthe next link).  Well, they did understand it, change it, and then, thanks to Al Gore, we’re back to paying ridiculous sums for everyday items (like $7,600 coffee makers, etc.).  So a single condom might well run into the hundreds, possibly thousands.  And then it becomes a joke.  Question:  How many thousands of dollars do  we need to spend on condoms to save money on prison healthcare?  Answer:  as many as it takes, even if it exceeds the amount spent on prison healthcare related specifically to std’s, Hep C, and AIDS. 

So, I’ve got no answers, really, and I’m not even sure where I stand on this issue (odd enough given my opinionated nature), but I do think it’s an interesting topic (or series of topics). 


P. S.  A special thanks to Em for telling me not only how to insert links but how to name them!  Yay!


9 thoughts on “No Condoms in Jaimaican Penal Institutions

  1. Wow, that’s interesting. I never did understand the back door approach to sex. Looks like it would be painful and therefore not very much of a turn on. Oh, well, what do I know? I thought it interesting also that you talked about Richard Specks boobs. At the hospital this past week there was a man/woman there who had boobs and a you-know-what. And he like women. So go figure that one. He had pretty largs boobs too..and after seeing Richards, well if I had known hormone shots would do that I would have been getting them a long time ago. Why go and have implants if you can get those things with only a few shots.

  2. Prisoners are so mistreated. Now they are being denied their right to condoms. How are they going to practice safe sex without a condom. Shameful, just shameful. I feel so bad for them, uh huh really ,I…….do………… Now if they start dieing from some sex realated deseases, does the country still have to put them on death row. Cant we just put the death row inmates in with the one that are infected with aids or hepatitas. That might save the prison system a little cash. Now theres a thought.

  3. Having worked with criminals, I can tell you that there is small section of our population who loves to be in jail. I have had men get out of jail and go do something right off the bat to be locked back up just for this reason. One man in particular told me that he had sex with 63 men in 30 days and was ready for more. Condoms would be a waste of money, most of these men could care less about the stigma of asking for a condom and wouldn’t use them anyway. This is probably the number one way that HIV and AIDS is spread hetrosexually because women assume their boyfriend would “never” do that. Most bleeding hearts assume that jail is a good place for people to be but this is like a condo to the sex addicts. Free food, tv, and sex. What more can they ask for? I am a firm believer in bringing back the chain gang. Make them work their butt off, regret their crimes, and wear them out so they sleep at night. Just some of my thoughts, purely opinionated as you can see.

  4. I think Scarlett has made a good point. There are some who love being in is a whole different kind of society even having it’s own form of government. Come to think of it, in the hospital where I work it is the same as far as repeat patients. There was a guy on my unit last week who told me “when I get out I am going to do something to get re-admitted cause I love it here.” I guess when we build facilities that give free room and board, and all the rest of life’s “pleasures?” this will happen. Of course they don’t get sex in the hopital uless they are very sneaky.

  5. Wow, you guys put a whole new spin on this! Yes, of course some people love prison, as Scarlett and Mavis are saying, there’s free everything (no worries about rent, utilities, food, OR sex, drugs, alcohol). Besides, it’s been very well-documented that some people, especially after long incarcerations become institutionalized.

    And Scarlett, too funny on the lightbulb and condom statement! lol

    Spartonmom, yeah, it’s hard for me to dredge up any sympathy for them, either. This is definitely not one of those areas that get blurry for me between leaning left or right; I’m firmly on the right when it comes to prisoners. I really think it’s ridiculous when they whine about their “rights,” when they essentially relinquish those rights granted society when they commit crimes against that society (esp. murder, rape, violent crimes).

  6. Yay, fun animal baloons. I love those guys that make animals out of baloons. How cool is that.

    Oh yer back to the blog. I think its probably a good job that, that guy is dead. He looks very weird. I don’t think that they should have condoms if they are in prison. They are in there for a reason after all.

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