Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Nevada to End Discriminatory Policies Against Inmates with HIV and Inmates with Disabilities
(STL.News) The Justice Department today reached a settlement agreement with Nevada to ensure that inmates with HIV are not illegally segregated or otherwise discriminated against on the basis of HIV status and that inmates with disabilities are provided an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) programs.
The agreement resolves the department’s findings that NDOC violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by unjustifiably isolating and segregating inmates with HIV, failing to keep their HIV status confidential, and denying them equal employment opportunities, including in food service positions. The department found that NDOC’s HIV housing policy stigmatized inmates with HIV and had the effect of indiscriminately disclosing their confidential HIV status to NDOC employees and inmates. As leading public health and correctional authorities oppose the routine segregation of inmates with HIV as medically unnecessary, the department determined that NDOC’s policy had no legitimate health justification. Nevada has since taken steps to desegregate inmates with HIV and also cooperated with the department throughout the investigation.
The agreement also resolves the department’s findings that NDOC denied inmates with disabilities — including mobility disabilities, HIV, and other physical or mental health conditions — classification and housing at lower-custody levels and facilities.