Criminalization and Mass Imprisonment

What's the issue?

The “War on Drugs,” “Stop and frisk,” and the singling out of transgender women for sex worker arrests are example of the process of criminalization: Common behaviors are transformed into crimes, and individuals are labeled as criminals, with huge numbers targeted for surveillance, prosecution, sentencing and detention.

HIV criminalization laws in 32 states that make HIV exposure a crime plus relentless HIV stigma have fueled the prosecution and imprisonment of hundreds of people with HIV in the US, even in states without an “HIV-specific” law.

Why we fight

The fundamental forces driving criminalization and mass imprisonment are the same as those that fuel the HIV/AIDS epidemic -- like economic inequity, racism, homophobia and gender-based discrimination.

HIV criminalization practices spread misinformation, encourage HIV discrimination and discourage HIV testing. And the destructive economic and social effects of CMI on individuals, families and communities further contribute to the persistence of the AIDS epidemic in the US.

What's our network doing about it?

HIV PJA fights the stigmatizing and biased criminalization of people with HIV, people of color, people in poverty, drug users, immigrants, sex workers, and LGBTQ people.

We work closely with the Center for HIV Law and Policy, Drug Policy Alliance, Positive Justice Project (PJP), the SERO Project and others on these issues.

We mobilize the HIV/AIDS community to join efforts to tear down systems of criminalization and mass imprisonment, using community education, media efforts, policy work and direct action/protest.

Donate to Michael Johnson’s defense fund

Donate to Michael Johnson’s defense fund

| February 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Michael L. Johnson is sitting in prison under a discriminatory HIV Criminalization law. With your help, he could be free in a matter of months. To make sure that Michael has expert legal support when his case is again heard in court, we must raise $20,000. This legal defense fund will be used to hire […]

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Watch the webinar – Progress towards HIV justice: Community update on Michael L. Johnson’s case

Watch the webinar – Progress towards HIV justice: Community update on Michael L. Johnson’s case

| January 6, 2017 | 0 Comments

This webinar provides crucial legal and advocacy updates on Michael L. Johnson’s HIV criminalization case in Missouri and presents a number of new opportunities for action for Michael’s liberation. Thank you to our moderator Charles Stephens and presenter Mayo Scheiber. Also, thank you to all attendees for submitting questions. Watch the webinar! Resources from the webinar: […]

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Watch the webinar – HIV Is Not a Crime: Immigration and HIV decriminalization

Watch the webinar – HIV Is Not a Crime: Immigration and HIV decriminalization

| September 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

Download the slides! Last week, the SERO Project and HIV PJA collaborated on the last in a HIV Is Not a Crime 3-part webinar series. This webinar discussed the intersectional issues of being an immigrant living with HIV and HIV criminalization. We also discussed the synergy of the movement to end deportations and the movement to end […]

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Black PLWHA face higher rates of incarceration, longer sentences

Black PLWHA face higher rates of incarceration, longer sentences

| September 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

This message featuring HIV PJA co-manager Maxx Boykin is being sent on behalf of the Black AIDS Institute: Maxx Boykin, co-chair, BTAN Chicago Advocacy and co-manager, HIV Prevention Justice Alliance By April Eugene The hyperpolicing of Black bodies doesn’t merely occur as people walk, drive, breathe or engage in other daily activities while Black. Two recent […]

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Watch the webinar – Criminalization’s impact on trans communities

Watch the webinar – Criminalization’s impact on trans communities

| August 26, 2016 | 0 Comments

Missed yesterday’s webinar? Watch the webinar! HIV Is Not a Crime: Criminalization’s impact on trans communities Download the slides! Yesterday, the SERO Project and HIV PJA collaborated on the second in a HIV Is Not a Crime 3-part webinar series. This webinar discussed the challenges trans people face and highlighted the stories of trans people who are […]

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