HIV Criminalization in California: Penal Implications for People Living with HIV/AIDS

By Amira Hasenbush, Ayako Miyashita, and Bianca D.M. Wilson
December 2015 – Updated June 2016

Given the lack of comprehensive data on the use of HIV criminal laws in California, Williams Institute researchers contacted the California Department of Justice and requested access to criminal offender record information (CORI) data. CORI data record any contacts an individual may have with the criminal justice system, from every event beginning at arrest through sentencing, so these data provide a full chronological record of how these laws are being utilized. After obtaining necessary security clearances, Williams Institute researchers were able to access the de-identified criminal history of all individuals who had had contact with the criminal justice system under Cal. Penal Code § 647f (solicitation while HIV-positive), Cal. Health & Safety Code § 120291 (exposure to HIV with intent to transmit), Cal. Penal Code § 12022.85 (sex offense sentence enhancement for HIV-positive status in nonconsensual sex crimes) and Cal. Health & Safety Code § 120290 (misdemeanor exposure to any communicable disease) from the time of their enactment to June 2014.

This report was funded by the California HIV/AIDS Research Program. Support was also provided by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the Ford Foundation and a grant from the David Bohnett Foundation.

For the full report, click here.
(updated on 6/28/2016 to correct an error regarding the total number of HIV-related criminal incidents and their geographic location)

For the press release, click here.