Alabama Prisons May Pay $1.3 Million to ACLU Lawyers

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- A tentative settlement of a federal lawsuit calls for the Alabama prison system to pay $1.3 million to American Civil Liberties Union attorneys who sued the state over its policy of segregating prisoners with HIV and AIDS.

All other states except South Carolina have abandoned similar policies. South Carolina plans to move HIV-positive inmates into the main prison population by Jan. 1.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled against the state in the lawsuit, but still must give final approval to the settlement agreed upon by attorneys for prisoners and the state. Thompson is expected to rule by midnight Monday.

The chairman of the House General Fund Committee, Republican Rep. Steve Clouse of Ozark, said he plans to discuss with department heads the wisdom of pursuing cases where it appears "we are not going to win."

Prison officials have declined to comment.

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