Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Tianjin prison caters for people with infectious diseases


Xi Meng says he has received two death sentences - one from the court, one from HIV.
The 37-year-old was convicted of homicide in 1998. Seven years into his sentence, he was diagnosed as being HIV positive and moved to Jin Zhong Prison, a facility for inmates with infectious diseases.
"It was hard at first. It felt like my life was shorter than my sentence," said Xi, who is serving a suspended death sentence, which means in 2005 he was facing another decade in prison.
"It was hard to see other prisoners look down on me," he said.
Yet since then, Xi says, medicine and the specialized care he has received at Jin Zhong Prison have been keeping him alive.
The prison, which is under Beijing jurisdiction but is in neighboring Tianjin, was built in 1998 to hold inmates with tuberculosis or hepatitis. A wing for prisoners with HIV and AIDS was added in 2008.
"This is different from other prisons," deputy warden Cao Lihua said. "Medical treatment is the priority and core purpose of Jin Zhong."
He said the prison also understands the importance of music and art in treating its more than 1,500 inmates.
More than 280 inmates, including 22 who are classified HIV positive, are serving their sentences in an environment where treatment, both medical and emotional, comes first.
"If convicts get an infectious disease in another prison, they are sent here. If they are cured here, they can return," Cao said.
Inmates can access consultations with doctors from major downtown hospitals, and any whose condition is deteriorating can get treatment in specialist departments, he said.
Read full article at: China Daily

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