Program offers East Bay inmates condoms

February 7, 2009 2:27:16 PM PST
California officials say they've had no problems with a test program providing inmates with condoms at one state prison.

Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Terry Thornton says there have been no reports of inmates using the condoms as weapons or to hide drugs. Each of 1,000 inmates at California State Prison, Solano, in Vacaville is allowed to possess one condom at a time.

The state let the private Center for Health Justice install seven condom vending machines in the prison four months ago as part of a one-year test. The center pays for the condoms.

Health officials say the program will help prevent disease.

Opponents say officials should not provide protection because sex is illegal in prison and distributing condoms promotes illegal activity.