Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Michael A. Nutter Denounces Drug Testing on Prison Inmates

August 14 - Philadelphia - Mayoral candidate Michael A. Nutter today denounced a recommendation by a Federal panel that would remove most limits on drug testing on prison inmates.

“We should be offering drug rehab to prisoners, not drug testing,” stated Nutter. “These recommendations, if implemented, could return us to the days when experiments were performed on prisoners at Holmesburg Prison, and the Tuskegee Experiments, which conducted syphilis testing on African American males in Alabama during the 1930s.” Nutter issued his statement in response to a front-page story in Sunday’s New York Times, which reported the recommendations by the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences. The Times reports that the discussion occurs during a time in which the biomedical industry is facing a shortage of subjects. Current regulations, passed in 1978, prohibit testing of prisoners, except where the experiment poses “minimal” risks.

“This is about one thing, taking advantage of a vulnerable population – mostly black men,” stated Nutter. “The City should refuse to allow drug companies to use its citizens for this purpose. It is completely immoral.” Nutter suggested that “If drug companies really want to help prisoners, as they claim, they should provide funding for job training and medical services that the prisoners truly need.”

Prior to 1978, experiments were conducted at Holmesburg State Prison, a facility run by the City of Philadelphia. At least one former prisoner reached a settlement with the city after he sued for damages caused by these experiments.

Michael A. Nutter is a candidate for mayor of the City of Philadelphia. For more information about Michael, visit

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