Palm Springs Sherrif Refuses To Give Gays Rehab Instead Of Prison

CA_-_Riverside_County_Sheriff_BadgeA lawyer in Palm Springs, CA, is claiming that the local sheriff’s department discriminates against gay inmates by not allowing them to enroll in a successful drug rehabilitation offered as an alternative to prison.

According to the Desert Sun:

Public defender Roger Tansey told The Desert Sun on Monday that two of his clients were denied access to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Residential Substance Abuse Treatment [RSAT] program in the past year after identifying as gay and were essentially forced to go to prison.

Gay inmates are placed in protective custody — given blue wristbands and therefore referred to as “blue-banded” — as a standard policy, which disqualifies them for the six-month rehabilitation program.

At least it’s a blue band and not, oh we don’t know, a pink triangle.

Riverside County Sheriff’s Department officials say the practice isn’t targeting gays, but acknowledges the program has very specific eligibility requirements.

According to its Corrections Division, inmates are assessed for RSAT by their criminal and in-custody behavior, medical and mental health history and basic academic skills.

“The sheriff’s department says they’re blue-banded for their own safety, and I believe that’s true,” Tansey said. “But you can’t discriminate a tax-funded program just because it’s easier for you. It’s easier for authorities to segregate by race, but we don’t have white prisons, Latino prisons and black prisons because it’s unlawful.”

Homosexuals aren’t the only people who are blue-banded: The News reports that other kinds of inmates are classified with the same sort of protective custody because they’re at heightened risk of attack—like child molesters, drug addicts and gang bangers.

Such auspicious company!

“I can’t put a protective custody inmate in a general population dayroom because the law requires us to have a classification to safely house people,” said Chief Deputy Jerry Gutierrez. Right now there is no RADT program for blue-banders but Gutierrez said that could change as more resources become available.

A judge will likely make a ruling in the next two months—either denying the petition, requesting more information or scheduling a hearing where authorities”would have to justify not allowing gays into the RSAT program.”

It can’t be that hard to figure out how to get gay inmates into the good rehab program. The only other option is for them to pretend to be straight—and we’re pretty sure they don’t have closets in prison cells.

Gay inmates are placed in protective custody — given blue wristbands and therefore referred to as “blue-banded” — as a standard policy, which disqualifies them for the six-month rehabilitation program.

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  • Triple S

    So, just reiterate it for me; gays aren’t allowed drug rehabilitation because they’re gay? And nothing else? Or is there something else? Sorry, I’m getting tired and can’t think very well at the moment.

  • R.A.

    Florida is a human rights cesspool.

  • Bob

    What does Florida have to do with this? The article is about California….

  • GreatGatsby2011

    I’m confused. If drug addicts (along with gays, gang bangers, and child-molesters) are blue-banded when they enter this jail as this post suggests (which disqualifies them from the drug rehab program), then does that mean that nobody who needs the rehab program actually qualifies for it?

  • christopher di spirito

    I’m confused too. I thought the courts made this determination? How is it that a local sheriff controls access to drug rehab in California?

  • Price Waterhouse

    I thought they only did that to ducks.

  • Michael DeSelms

    Confusion reigns!!! If drug users are also “blue banded”, then how are THEY going to rehab? This is Palm Springs forcrikey sake. A huge gay population. I’m sure there are gay counselors they cold be sent to. I’m wondering if there isn’t something else deep-seated in that Sherrifs mind? Hmmm?

  • Michael DeSelms

    @R.A.: Read again…not Palm Beach but rather Palm Springs.

  • Dagny T

    Note to Queerty’s writer: it’s spelled sherifF, NOT sherRif. The article spells it correctly….

  • Paul F

    @Michael DeSelms: No need to retract the first statement,even if you misread the name of the city, your first statement still stands (unfortunately) correct as written.

  • Laurence Taylor

    Discrimination is sad in this day and age but no one is alone. Call Anew Rehab Services 800-358-9902 for excellent legal liaison or intervention specialists. Located in Palm Springs CA Anew Rehab Services specializes in helping those who are suffering from various addiction troubles.

  • annajackson

    This is really bad thing that palm springs drug rehab programs refuses to treat gay patients. I think this is ridiculous, treatments should be same of everyone, whether the patient is gay, lesbian, homosexual or a normal person.

Comments are closed.