NO, NO, NO

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.