SC prison chief: Lawsuit coming over HIV inmates

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's prison director says he's preparing for a lawsuit from federal prosecutors over housing HIV-positive inmates in separate dorms.

Director Jon Ozmint said Tuesday he received a letter from the U.S. Justice Department in June threatening to sue if his agency doesn't end the practice within 90 days.

Since 1998, South Carolina has tested all inmates for HIV and housed HIV-positive inmates in a separate dorm. Officials say more than 400 HIV-positive inmates are now living together in a prison in Columbia.

Alabama is the only other state that separates infected inmates. Mississippi ended the practice earlier this year.

The American Civil Liberties Union says officials should give prisoners condoms and syringes to slow the spread of AIDS but should house all inmates together.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.