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Transgender Persons In Custody: The Legal Landscape

Do you and your agency have questions about the management of transgender persons in custody?

In response to this emerging correctional issue, the National Institute of Corrections conducted a live internet broadcast designed to: provide information to agency legal counsel and corrections professionals regarding transgender persons in custody and their presumptive legal rights; demystify the issues surrounding policy and procedures decisions affecting this population; and identify emerging challenges and opportunities to provide strategies for ensuring equity while maintaining safety and security.

During this internet broadcast, held March 29, 2017, the presenters:

  • Address agencies questions regarding issues, barriers, challenges and practices that affect transgender persons in custody;
  • Illustrate areas of greatest liability for agencies regarding transgender persons in custody; Determine areas to address in agency policy and procedure;
  • Explain steps agencies should take to ensure the safety and security of this population while in custody;
  • and Presenters will also share recommendations and resources.

This broadcast will answer the following questions:

  • What is the current state of litigation regarding transgender persons in custody?
  • What legal rights do transgender persons in custody have?
  • What are the best and promising practices for safe and secure housing of transgender persons?
  • How can my agency provide reasonable accommodations for transgender persons in our custody?

Please note that this broadcast was recorded in 2017 and the field has continued to move forward since the recording. Some states have had new court decisions impacting transgender persons, NIC recommends additional research to make sure you have the latest information.

Transgender Persons In Custody: The Legal Landscape - Segment One

Recorded in 2017

This introduction to the series introduces the topic of transgender persons in custody and the relevance to corrections policies, outlines the four training objectives of the entire broadcast, and introduces the four panelists that will be speaking throughout the broadcast.

Segment Two

Recorded in 2017

Panelists Harper Jean Tobin, Haley Gorenberg, and Lorie Brisbin discuss how the focus of the transgender population in corrections has evolved, as well as the basic concepts and demographics regarding the transgender population. The discussion also expands on the vulnerabilities of transgender persons, and how proactive policies and practices can address potential liability in corrections.

Segment Three

Recorded in 2017

The vulnerability of transgender inmates and the duty of corrections staff to protect and provide care for the transgender inmates in their custody is discussed by panelists Lorie Brisbin and Haley Gorenberg. An overview of the areas where legal liability may arise is covered, as well as recommendations on legally sound solutions to issues that may arise in the supervision and care of transgender persons in custody. Case law is discussed throughout the segment to illustrate these concepts.

Segment Four

Recorded in 2017

Wendy Williams and Lorie Brisbin discuss the practices and policies that best address inmate vulnerability and agency liability, provide correctional facilities with an overview of the day to day issues that may arise, and provide recommendations on legally sound solutions. Furthermore, the segment emphasizes the importance of avoiding blanket policies, including blanket prohibitions, and the significance of individualized assessments.

Segment Five

Recorded in 2017

Panelists Harper Jean Tobin and Wendy Williams provide guidance and suggestions for handling housing and classification, medical care, mental health care, searches for transgender persons. Emphasis is placed on case-by-case and individualized assessments, working as a team, and utilizing community resources.

Segment Six

Recorded in 2017

In this final segment, panelists Lorie Brisbin, Hayley Gorenberg, Harper Jean Tobin, and Wendy Williams discuss next steps, additional resources, and key points from the broadcast. The segment concludes with closing comments from corrections administrators and the credits for the entire broadcast.