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Obama-era guidance protecting safety of transgender prisoners now rolled back
From news releases
2018-05-12

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From the Human Rights Campaign:

WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer ( LGBTQ ) civil rights organization, responded to news that the Trump-Pence Administration has ordered the Bureau of Prisons to use "biological sex" in determining how transgender prisoners are assigned housing, putting them at significant risk of sexual abuse, assault, and other types of discrimination.

"The Obama Administration put this guidance into place after an extensive review to develop workable and reasonable procedures that would protect some of the most vulnerable people in our prison system," said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. "The decision to disregard a transgender person's gender identity is harmful and disrespectful. This unconscionable decision ignores medical expertise and defies common sense. Transgender people under the control of the Bureau of Prisons will face greater risk of violence and discrimination."

The Obama Administration issued a guidance memo for the Bureau of Prisons that provided instruction on intake and supervision of transgender inmates, including medical treatment, housing guidelines, and use of pronouns. It also noted that transgender inmates are at "increased risk of suicide, mental health issues and victimization." The memo was largely based on regulations first implemented in 2012. The Trump-Pence Administration's move also conflicts with protections under the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

From Lambda Legal: Trump Administration Is Again Targeting the Most Vulnerable

( New York, May 11, 2018 ) — Today, the Trump Administration released changes to the federal Bureau of Prisons Transgender Offender Manual that undercuts constitutional protections and efforts in federal law — specifically the Prison Rape Enforcement Act ( PREA ) — to protect all prisoners from sexual assault and violence. Richard Saenz, Lambda Legal Staff Attorney and Criminal Justice and Police Misconduct Strategist, releases the following statement:

"Once again, the Trump Administration is turning its back on those most vulnerable. It is well established that transgender prisoners — particularly transgender women housed in men's facilities — suffer much greater rates of sexual abuse than other prison populations. A California study found that when transgender women are housed with men, they are 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than male prisoners in the same facilities.

"Conversely, it is increasingly common for correctional facilities to house transgender people consistent with their gender identity, and agencies have made these placements without experiencing any increase in abusive incidents or security risks. There is no justification for this policy shift; it is a deliberate recipe for violence against transgender people based in inexcusable prejudice."


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