(Washington, DC) The DC Department of Corrections hosted a special visit by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. on Wednesday, February 28, 2007. Reverend Jackson visited the Central Detention Facility (DC Jail) located at 1901 D Street in Southeast, Washington to observe the Department’s automatic HIV testing program for inmates.
Department of Corrections Director Devon Brown said, “The Department of Corrections is fortunate to have Reverend Jackson observe its automatic HIV testing program. HIV is a public safety as much as it is a public health issue.” Director Brown continued, “Reverend Jackson is world renowned for his leadership accomplishments. His visit to the DC Jail brings to the forefront greater exposure and attention that this highly critical issue deserves.”
The Reverend Jackson, one of America’s leading civil rights, religious and political leaders, has played a pivotal role in establishing policy and programs that benefit disadvantaged persons, including those confined to our jails and prisons. Reverend Jackson recently launched a nation-wide campaign urging people to get tested for HIV. His campaign stresses the importance of embracing the incarcerated population as part of this endeavor because oftentimes they are unaware or encounter HIV carriers. During a visit to another jail facility, Reverend Jackson encouraged those jailed to retain their humanity by getting tested emphasizing that early detection leads to (stabilizing health) and without testing people will continue to spread the disease.
The Department of Corrections implemented its automatic HIV testing program last June, becoming the first detention system nationally to test inmates at intake and upon release to the community.