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bonta.JPGState senators voted 21-13 today for a measure requiring state officials to expand the availability of condoms in all California prisons.

The bill by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, requires the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to develop a five-year plan that increases access to condoms -- despite sex being illegal in prisons.

Under Assembly Bill 999, which awaits a final vote in the Assembly, the corrections and rehabilitation department must initiate and incrementally expand a distribution program, including mounting dispensers in discrete locations to provide confidential access.

It also asks the department to consider making condoms available confidentially upon request during medical visits.

Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, said inmates returning to their communities risk spreading HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C, among other diseases.

"This is a public-health issue," Beall said.

First-year costs for the program are estimated at $200,000 based on a formula of $1.50 an inmate. Future costs could drop to $100,000 annually.

PHOTO: Assemblyman Bob Bonta D-Alameda in Assembly chambers in Sacramento, Calif. on Monday, March 11, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua



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