A Kern County grand jury is criticizing a prison in California City for improperly instructing inmates on condom disposal after prison sex.
In a report released Tuesday, the grand jury said used condoms had been found on the floor of the California City Correctional Facility, and staff said they assumed most inmates disposed of condoms by flushing them down the toilet.
The grand jury noted that while “inmate sex is illegal, its occurrence is a fact that must be addressed for the benefit of the inmates and their future partners.”
The 2,550-capacity, all-male facility is located northeast of California City and leased from the private company CoreCivic. Since 2013, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has leased the facility for Level II inmates, the second lowest of four possible security rankings.
According to the grand jury, CDCR’s written policy recommends disposal of condoms by flushing them down the toilet. This, however, conflicts with health organizations and scientists, who warn flushing condoms can harm the environment and ruin plumbing.
The jurists included in the report a finding by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that anal sex is the highest-risk sexual activity for HIV transmission.
Condom dispensary receptacles are provided by the prison officials in areas that are readily available to inmates, the grand jury said. The report said CDCR should revise its operational procedure pamphlet to advise inmates to dispose of condoms by wrapping them in tissue paper and throwing them in the trash.
In the same report, the grand jury recommended the prison recruit or train examiners to facilitate regular GED testing opportunities. The report noted that inmates had reportedly needed to wait several months to take the GED, and were frustrated by the delay. When jurists visited the prison in October 2019, the report said the facility lacked qualified individuals to administer the exam.
Prison officials have 90 days to respond to the grand jury's report.
Editors note: This story has been updated to reflect CoreCivic leases the facility to CDCR.