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LGBTI Laws & Policies - Policy

This directive establishes policies for interactions with transgender individuals to provide for the safety of police officers and citizens, and for the protection of the constitutional rights of citizens in all official interactions.

This is a guide for staff of correctional agencies and external advocates who are ready to dig into the details of writing and revising jail and prison policies relating to transgender and all LGBTQ prisoners. Each chapter covers a unique topic and includes several sample policies in place in facilities across the U.S.

"In the first edition of this guide, we aimed to reach out to correctional agencies in order to help them identify, address, and respond to abuse of LGBTI individuals through agency policies and procedures. We hoped to deepen the dialogue between staff and administrators as well as community leaders and criminal justice advocates about strategies to eliminate abuse of LGBTI individuals in custody. The second edition of this guide provides updated key information to correctional agencies about PREA’s impact on agency practice as it relates to LGBTI individuals in custody" (p. 1). This guide is made up of three chapters: introduction and overview—introduction, evolving terminology and definitions, core principles for understanding LGBTI individuals in custody, and emerging data on LGBTI individuals in custodial settings and the challenges they face; LGBTI youth under custodial supervision—the law, PREA standards, other governing principles (state human rights laws and professional codes of ethics), and elements of legally sound and effective policy and practice; and LGBTI adults under custodial supervision—the law, PREA standards, and elements of legally sound and effective policy and practice. Appendixes provide: glossary; case law digest; additional resources; webpages with sample policies; Issues to Watch: The Impact of Non-Custodial LGBTI Developments on Corrections; sample policies; and training matrices.

Policy Review and Development Guide: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Persons in Custodial Settings, 2nd Edition cover

"Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) and gender non-conforming inmates represent particularly vulnerable populations with unique medical, safety, and other needs. Though some of the concerns and vulnerabilities faced by these populations are similar, transgender and gender non-conforming inmates are distinct from gay, lesbian, and bisexual inmates in important respects. Basic principles of risk-based classification should be applied with LGBTI populations, accounting for unique characteristics that may affect their risk of victimization. For transgender inmates, this includes making individualized decisions regarding gender placement (i.e., whether the inmate will be housed in a facility for females or for males). Reception staff must have clear guidelines allowing for the consistent identification of LGBTI inmates and collecting key information relevant to individualized risk assessment. Like other important characteristics, an inmate’s sexual orientation or transgender status will not always be immediately obvious at reception, but can typically be identified with relatively simple procedures" (p. 1). This 60-minute training session explains how to improve the correctional intake and classification process for LGBTI inmates. Contents of this zip file include: "Respectful Classification Practices with LGBTI Inmates: Trainer’s Manual" comprised of the following four lessons—Why LGBTI Responsive Intake and Classification Matters, LGBTI Terminology, Implementing Promising Intake and Classification Practices, and Moving Forward; 14 "Myth or Truth" flash cards; and presentation slides.

Respectful Classification Practices with LGBTI Inmates [Lesson Plans] Cover

New Hampshire Department of Corrections, Policy and Procedure Directive. The purpose of the policy is to "set a standard of care for the treatment of Gender Dysphoria (GD) as clinically defined in the diagnostic criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) most recent diagnostic and statistical manual (DSM) and to define the extent and general limits of the healthcare services that will be provided to this population.

In the summer of 2013, Chelsea Manning’s high-profile incarceration and subsequent pardon brought the existence of trans women in prison into the mainstream discourse. Activists like Janet Mock and CeCe McDonald have courageously spoken out about their experiences while incarcerated. But while their high-profile cases have resulted in greater awareness about the criminalization of trans people — particularly trans women of color — and the abuses the mass incarceration system heaps upon them, there is very little discussion of actual policies. Advocacy groups and departments of corrections alike are operating with almost no information in this area, leaving incarcerated trans people without resources and at the mercy of widespread ignorance.

To begin to bridge this research gap, the Prison Policy Initiative has conducted a review of the current transgender/gender non-conforming policies of 21 states.

Most states’ policies are sparse, and convey a clear discomfort with and ignorance about the trans community. We have, however, identified one state’s policy as representing current best practices in the field: the Delaware Department of Corrections policy. This two–part policy, revised in 2016 in response to an ACLU lawsuit, sets an informed and comprehensive standard.

In this post we review the scope of the gaps and inadequacies in states’ transgender incarceration policies, hold up suggestions from Delaware and other leaders in the field as partial solutions, and make recommendations for further research that is desperately needed in this area.

Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department Transgender Inmates policy, December 28, 2009.

“Tribal laws reflect our values as a people, define our collective barriers, prioritize our issues, allocate public resources, and identify eligibility for conferred status and public benefits and services. This Toolkit identifies areas in which existing tribal laws may discriminate against Two Spirit /LGBT individuals. The Toolkit also gives tribal legislators a brief overview of legal and policy issues that impact the equal treatment of Two Spirit/LGBT community members, and offers sample resolution and code language for tribal lawmakers to consider adopting to maximize equality within their communities. The purpose of this Toolkit is to protect the most vulnerable among us by facilitating the development of tribal laws that ensure that Two Spirit/LGBT people have the same access and opportunities as other community members. By making simple adjustments to laws and policies— such as creating an inclusive definition of family, or extending criminal laws to address hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity—tribal governments can exercise their sovereignty to better protect all of their tribal citizens” (p. 9). This toolkit is comprised of ten chapters: introduction about the toolkit; family—marriage, domestic partnerships and civil unions, and children (adoption, child custody and visitation for Two Spirit/LGBT parents, and child welfare); employment; housing, real property transactions, public accommodations, and public services; education; health care and end of life; bias-motivated (hate) crimes—criminal offenses with bias motive, prohibiting specific actions, enhanced penalties, and bias-motivated crime reporting and training; jury service; law enforcement and corrections—police conduct, prison/jail conditions, and a sample “Equality Protocol for Law Enforcement and Corrections”; and identity documents and name changes.

Tribal Equity Toolkit 2.0: Tribal Resolutions and Codes to Support Two Spirit & LGBT Justice in Indian Country Cover

To ensure the Bureau of Prisons (Bureau) properly identifies, tracks, and provides services to the transgender population.

Program Objectives. Expected results of this program are:

  • This policy is meant to provide guidance to staff in dealing with the unique issues that arise when working with transgender inmates.
  • Institutions ensure transgender inmates can access programs and services that meet their needs as appropriate, and prepare them to return to the community.
  • Sufficient resources will be allocated to deliver appropriate services to transgender inmates.
  • Staff will be offered training, enabling them to work effectively with transgender inmates.
  • To support staff’s understanding of the increased risk of suicide, mental health issues and victimization of transgender inmates.


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