Sacto 9-1-1
September 9, 2010
Sacramento sheriff won't follow SF on condoms in jails

By Kim Minugh
kminugh@sacbee.com

Sacramento County jail inmates won't have easy access to condoms any time soon, as their counterparts in San Francisco now do, according to Sheriff John McGinness.

San Francisco officials are installing condom dispensers inside the confines of one county jail facility so prisoners can practice safer - albeit still illegal - sex while incarcerated, according to a report last week in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Sheriff's and public health officials there told the Chronicle that inmates already are having sex, creating a public safety issue.

But that argument didn't pass muster with McGinness, who said that inmate sex ultimately is a crime that law enforcement should be working to deter.

"It's more than waving a white flag of surrender of our caretaker (responsibilities)," he said. "I think it actually condones unlawful activity."

McGinness said his stance is based strictly on legal standards, he said.

Issuing condoms for illegal sex, he mused, would be little like issuing "cocktail glasses, margarita blenders and roach clips" to the incarcerated.

McGinness has no plans to follow San Francisco's lead. But he did say there was a time in Sacramento that inmates on their way out of lockup were handed rubbers for any post-release fun. That practice has ended, he said.

To read the Chronicle report, click here.

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038.

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