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Suspects with AIDS detained in separate facility

2014-09-13 10:26 China Daily Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

Nanjing has established a special detention center where criminal suspects with AIDS can be detained without risk of others contracting the disease.

In the past, such suspects were often released and not charged with crimes, according to the authorities, because there was nowhere safe to hold them while awaiting legal proceedings. Suspects were thought to pose less risk on their own after release.

The Nanjing detention center is located in a hospital for infectious diseases about 35 kilometers from the city's downtown district. In each 15-square-meter cell there are three beds, three cupboards, a television, eating utensils and a handful of other small items.

To avoid spreading the infection through blood, the floor, walls and all furniture have been carefully modified to reduce sharp corners that could result in a cut to the skin. Spoons, cups and toothbrushes are made of soft plastic.

"All the suspects in the center are infected with HIV/AIDS," said Zhang Wenyong, deputy director of the supervision detachment under the Nanjing public security bureau in Jiangsu province. "They were sent to the center for selling or using drugs, or for burglary."

Suspects will not be served fish during detention to avoid bleeding that could be caused by a fish bone stuck in the throat, he said.

"The police officers in the center eat the same food as the suspects," Zhang said. "Various kinds of food, including meatballs and ribs, are included on the menu."

The food provided to the suspects is held in disposable boxes that will be collected and treated by the hospital later.

The suspects also have a special procedure for doing laundry. Clothes, after being washed by the suspects, will be collected by the police and dried in a designated area.

"The police have established three wards-for suspects infected with HIV, for suspects already showing symptoms of AIDS and for female suspects," said Qi Jianyu, director of the law enforcement and service brigade of the Nanjing bureau. "Every week, doctors will come to the wards to check on the health of the suspects."

"Many policemen, including me, were worried about occupational exposure," Qi said. "Our family were extremely worried about the working environment. To alleviate the worry, the center invited medical experts four times to give lectures on AIDS and occupational exposure prevention."

According to the police, many HIV/AIDS suspects feel afraid, desperate or have low self-esteem, so officers decided not to wear protective clothing. They have conversations frequently with the suspects.

"The suspects will not feel discriminated against," Qi said. "They will show more willingness to cooperate and rehabilitate."

Police said 20 suspects with HIV/AIDS have been detained in the center, four of whom have been transferred to prisons to serve their sentences.

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