Bill Would Require HIV Tests of Prisoners Before Parole

FEBRUARY 9, 2007 - Posted at 7:50 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Inmates would have to undergo HIV tests before they could be paroled under a proposal filed by a North Little Rock lawmaker.

Representative Fred Allen proposes requiring tests for HIV -- the virus that causes AIDS -- and other sexually transmitted diseases before an inmate could be paroled. The proposal also requires that an inmate receive treatment for the disease before being paroled if they test positive.

Dina Tyler, spokeswoman for the Department of Correction, said normally about 100 of the state's 14-thousand inmates are HIV positive and between 25 and 30 have AIDS.

At intake, all prisoners are required to be screened for hepatitis and the state also provides voluntary HIV tests. She said that, despite being voluntary, everyone takes one, probably because they simply want to know.

Tyler said prison officials are studying Allen's proposal to see what costs the additional testing would require.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)