George R. Brown
"Transgender (TG) persons are overrepresented in prison settings and in the U.S. veteran population. Health disparities studies of large populations of transgender people involved with the criminal justice system have not been published to date … "This investigation sought to describe characteristics associated with JI in a sample of veterans with TG identification and to determine whether health disparities exist when compared to non-TG veterans with a JI history" (p. 297, 298). Results are presented regarding: characteristics of TG and non-TG veterans; sample characteristics of justice involved (JI) TG and non-TG veterans; characteristics of justice involved TG and justice involved non-TG veterans; and the effects of TG status and VJP [Veteran Justice Programs] involvement on medical and mental health problems. Findings suggest that TG veterans are more like to be involved with the justice system, to have been homeless at one time or another, and/or experienced sexual assault while serving in the military compared to non-TG JI (justice involved) veterans. TG JI veterans also at increased risk for depression, posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), serious mental illness, suicide, hypertension, and obesity. "These data suggest that TG veterans experience a number of health risks compared to non-TG veterans, including an increased likelihood of justice involvement. TG veterans involved with the criminal justice system are a particularly vulnerable group and services designed to address the health care needs of this population, both while incarcerated and when in the community, should take these findings into account in the development of health screenings and treatment plans" (p. 297).
"Claims of inadequate health care and safety afforded to transgender inmates have become the subject of litigation. This article reviews 129 unsolicited letters from transgender inmates writing … to identify their concerns. Among the letters reviewed were reports from 10 inmates who had filed lawsuits naming departments of correction (DOCs) as defendants, claiming inadequate access to transgender health care. Five of these lawsuits have gone to trial. In all of those cases, the defendant settled the matter or was found liable as of the time of this report. Claims of inadequate care for transgendered patients that have sufficient merit to be fully litigated in U.S. courts appear likely to produce verdicts in favor of plaintiff inmates. The information gleaned from reviewing letters from transgendered inmates may alert staffs of DOCs to concerns worth addressing proactively to avoid the costs associated with transgender-related lawsuits" (Author Abstract p. 334).