Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-01-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Cook County Jail using gender identity to determine housing
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2011-04-06

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


In a Windy City Times exclusive, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced that Cook County Jail has instituted a policy for housing transgender detainees based on their gender identity, rather than birth sex.

The policy became effective on March 21. It is thought to be the first of its kind in the United States.

"Particularly with this issue, we wanted to do it right," Dart told Windy City Times, adding that "medical and sociological" concerns for transgender people "even superseded security issues."

The seven-page policy mandates that transgender detainees be allowed to consult with a "Gender Identity Panel" of physicians and therapists before being placed into male or female housing. It also directs correctional staff to allow transgender people to wear clothing/ own hygiene products consistent with their gender identity. Further, it requires that corrections staff, physicians, and therapists undergo gender-related sensitivity training administered by the sheriff's department. The policy is a far cry from old standards, which, officials said, were nonexistent.

The only known policy to deal with transgender issues at Cook County Jail dates back to 1984. The "Transsexual Treatment Protocol" policy made recommendations for jail physicians regarding hormones, but it did not address housing, clothing or transgender men ( FTMs ) . The policy also uses language that, by today's standards, is largely considered offensive, classifying transgender people as "transsexual men."

Owen Daniel-McCarter is a project attorney of the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois ( TJLP ) , an organization that provides transgender people with free criminal legal services. He said that most of his clients have had bad experiences at Cook County Jail.

Daniel-McCarter said the under older rule, many transgender women were placed in men's facilities and transgender men in women's. He called this practice "dangerous, not only for mental health but physical health."

Limited research on transgender people behind bars exists. However, it is generally believed that transgender detainees face violence and sexual assault at rates far higher than non-transgender detainees, especially for transgender women placed in men's facilities. A 2011 report from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that 37 percent of transgender people polled reported being harassed by correctional officers, and 35 percent reported harassment from peers. That same study also found that transgender people of color were especially vulnerable to violence and discrimination behind bars.

Dr. Avery Hart, the chief medical officer at Cermak Health Services, which oversees healthcare for Cook County Jail, estimated that at least two to three transgender people are in custody at the jail at a given time. Hart worked closely with the sheriff's department to draft the new policy. He did not comment on any specific reports but did say that he thought that "what's been reported in the country about trans people detained reflects Cook County Jail."

Dart said he discovered the jail had no transgender policy over a year ago when the issue was raised at a jail staff meeting. He said that questions arose about where to place transgender people in housing, and Dart recommended that staff defer to the policy.

"I just saw blank stares across the room," Dart said. "I said, 'Are you trying to tell me there is no policy?'"

According to Dart, his office, Cermak Health Services and the Department of Corrections collaborated with experts ranging from therapists to LGBTQ activists to other jails in order to draft a comprehensive policy. Unlike the 1984 directive, the new policy includes clinical information on gender identity disorder, a glossary of terms and, most significantly, a recommendation that transgender people be placed in accordance with their identity ( as opposed to genitalia ) . Dart hopes the policy will be adopted elsewhere and said it will be featured on the Department of Justice website.

Other jails have adopted policies for placing transgender detainees, most notably in San Francisco. The Cook County Jail policy is unique, however, in that it not only aims to place transgender people based on how they identify, it defers to a "gender identity panel" of doctors and therapists to make that decision, not just correctional officers. It also requires transgender sensitivity training for jail employees, and is backed by a system of supervisor check-offs to ensure it is followed.

"We're really trying to stay away from a cookie cutter approach," Hart said, noting that the policy does not list requirements for what qualifies a detainee for "male" or "female" housing. Hart asserted that the policy is designed to approach every detainee as an individual. "We want to be contemporary in our approach," he said.

Daniel-McCarter remains skeptical. "I don't like that this was sprung on us," he said, noting his suspicions that Chicago's transgender community was not consulted on the policy. Daniel-McCarter questioned why the sheriff's department will oversee staff trainings, rather than local experts.

Dart did say that his office had reached out to local LGBT activists such as Rick Garcia and Art Johnson. Windy City Times was not able to confirm this by the press deadline.

Daniel-McCarter also criticized the language in the policy, which is based on the concept of "gender identity disorder" ( GID ) , a term used by the American Psychological Association to diagnose transgender people. That diagnosis has become increasingly controversial over the past several years for a host of reasons, including offense taken to the labeling of transgender people has having a disorder. Daniel-McCarter worries that, as a consequence, the gender identity panel has too much power and too little knowledge to decide where a transgender person should be placed in the jail.

However, Daniel-McCarter also remains hopeful. He said the policy is the "most progressive" he has seen in Illinois yet.

"My overall response is that it is a step forward," he said. "I am grateful that Tom Dart is concerned about trans people. I think that's commendable." Daniel-McCarter added he wants the sheriff's office to sit down with transgender Chicagoans and talk about the policy.

[ Readers have pointed out that the Chicago policy is similar to the 2009 D.C. policy. It is true that like the D.C. policy, the Chicago policy requires that the jail convene a panel to determine placement for gender-variant detainees. The Chicago policy is unique from other policies ( including the D.C. ) policy in that it not only convenes a panel, it mandates staff trainings on gender identity and gender identity disorder, multiple supervisor check-offs, and 3-month review period for gender-variant detainees. In essence, the Chicago policy has borrowed from other policies, and with several additions, makes up one comprehensive policy for placing detainees as well as educating medical and correctional staff. ]


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

175 mayors from 42 states launch coalition for LGBT protections 2017-01-18
EEOC report on charges of work discrimination details LGBT cases 2017-01-18
World: Pakistan census, South African channel, shocking Brazilian crime 2017-01-18
Activists want to quash Uptown TIF subsidy 2017-01-18
Torres to work with Howard Brown 2017-01-18
Poll: 10M LGBTQs reside in U.S. 2017-01-18
Wife of Orlando shooter arrested 2017-01-16
Berlin washroom vandalized 2017-01-15
Justice Dept.: Pattern of rights violations in Chicago Police Dept. 2017-01-13
Attack on Affordable Care Act: Lambda Legal urges action to save lives 2017-01-11
Two-spirit transgender woman killed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota 2017-01-09
Intimate partner violence homicide in Newport News, Virginia 2017-01-06
Mesha Caldwell, transgender woman of color, killed in Mississippi 2017-01-06
Timber Creek owners file court appeal 2017-01-04
Know Your Rights: Ensuring Equality for LGBTQ Employees 2016-12-28
New tracking tool for religious bills launched 2016-12-28
HB2 repeal fails 2016-12-28
National roundup: Pulse lawsuit, lesbian judge removed, artists against Ivanka 2016-12-27
Looking back: National news 2016-12-26
Miss. man pleads guilty to hate crime in trans murder 2016-12-23
Judge issues decision in Open Meetings suit 2016-12-23
Community, labor, faith leaders to join in January 14 mobilization for resistance 2016-12-22
Report looks at LGBT social-justice groups 2016-12-21
Schock pleads not guilty to charges 2016-12-21
Johnson HIV conviction reversed 2016-12-20
Gun Violence Prevention PAC IL on weekend Chicago gun violence, Fernwood 2016-12-19
U.S. House aims to cut crucial LGBTQ protections 2016-12-16
New tracking tool for religious imposition bills 2016-12-16
Civil rights leader in lawsuit against American Airlines 2016-12-16
Mississippi's anti-LGBT law reaches 5th Circuit: Lambda Legal joins opening briefs 2016-12-16
Lambda Legal goes to 11th Circuit for security guard forced out for being a lesbian 2016-12-15
Louisiana Judge strikes down Governor's Executive Order protecting LGBTQ state workers 2016-12-14
All Survivors Project to study, shape policy on male sexual victimization in war 2016-12-14
Transgender employee in Louisiana prevails in employment discrimination case 2016-12-14
HRC highlights anti-LGBTQ state bills, Illinois protections, laws, legislative proposals 2016-12-14
International Human Rights Day: LGBTIQ activists urge Trump to uphold human rights 2016-12-12
World news: India's pride, Romanian court, Prince Harry/Rihanna 2016-12-06
NCAVP mourns intimate partner violence homicide of Dalia Elhefny Sabae in PA 2016-12-05
Bar associations respond to increase in hate-motivated violence, harassment 2016-12-01
'San Antonio Four' exonerated 2016-11-30
 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.