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Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, we do not charge our clients for legal representation or advocacy, and we receive no government funding. We depend on contributions from supporters around the country.

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and other "changes in law and policy have created new expectations of juvenile justice personnel. Implementation of these new requirements, however, varies widely across the country and has created a demand for clear professional guidance. This practice guide is a response to that demand and: provides an overview of key concepts and terminology related to SOGIE; summarizes the research on the effect of stigma and bias on the health and well-being of LGBT youth, the drivers contributing to their disproportionate involvement in the justice system and the harmful and unfair practices to which they are subjected in the system; identifies policies and procedures to prohibit discrimination, prevent harm and promote fair and equitable treatment of LGBT youth who are arrested and referred to juvenile justice agencies; and provides guidance on policies and practices required to ensure the safety and well-being of LGBT youth in detention facilities" (p. 5). Sections contained in this practice guide include: introduction-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth in the United States, and the purpose of this publication; understanding sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE); profile of LGBT youth in the juvenile justice system; creating a fair, inclusive, and respectful organizational culture; and detention standards regarding equal and respectful treatment, safety, privacy and dignity, and qualified medical and behavioral health care.


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in the Juvenile Justice System Cover

This collection is comprised of a training program and an agency policy regarding the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex inmates. "Course Name: L.G.B.T. Awareness" by B. Galindez. "Cultural Diversity/Awareness is essential in terms of adapting to changes and the morphing of all human traits and values. Acceptance and / or tolerance are key elements when the pursuit of cohesion is the overall goal. Lesson Objectives: 1. Student will be able to identify alternate lifestyles; 2. Student will be able to identify alternative lifestyle definitions; 3. Student will be able to identify custodial issues regarding alternative lifestyle arrests; 4. Student will be able to identify Departmental Policy regarding Discrimination / Harassment; [and] 5. Student will become familiar with Lawrence vs. Texas" (p. 4). Included are a lesson plan, PowerPoint slides, pretest and key, handout, final exam and key, and a handout. "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex, (L.G.B.T.I.)", HCSO Policy # 413. “This Order provides guidelines for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) to follow in order to meet federal statutes and regulations, American Correctional Association (ACA) Standards, National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) standards, Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), and other Texas standards, statutes, regulations, guidelines, directives, or requirements that: A. Facilitate the elimination of discrimination against; and B. Address the appropriate classification, housing and treatment of; and C. Provide for the specific safety, security and medical needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) inmates in a humane and respectful manner while maintaining the safety, security and good order of all HCSO facilities; and D. Establish sanctions for any violation of this policy” (p. 1).

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex, (L.G.B.T.I.) Training Program and Agency Policy Cover

Many juvenile justice systems don't know how many young people in their system identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) and often lack appropriate policies that meet their unique needs … This webinar discussed the need for agency policies to support LGBT young people in the juvenile justice system. Participants learned how the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services [DYS] and Santa Clara County Probation Department [SCCPD] developed policies for LGBT youth in their system, as well as different strategies for creating similar policies in state- and county-based systems (website). This zip file contains: SCCPD Stakeholder Invitation; SCCPD Transgender Procedure Guidelines; SCCPD Transgender Preference Form; SCCPD Cultural Competence Form; Santa Clara, County Counsel Memorandum; Massachusetts DYS Official Policy; and presentation slides.

LGBT Youth in Juvenile Justice: Creating Agency Policies for an Equitable System Webinar cover

NCA video chronicling the transition from male to female of corrections officer Rachel Esters, featuring moderator Bernie Iszler, CPS NIC Academy division. This may be used as a staff training video.

"Among the thousands of migrants who are detained by states each year, those who are perhaps most vulnerable to human rights violations are oftentimes invisible within the immigration systems: LGBTI detainees. Human rights violations perpetrated against these individuals, who may be targeted during their detention as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity, are made all the more egregious since many LGBTI detainees in immigration detention chose to migrate from their countries of origin as a result of persecution faced specifically due to their sexual orientation or gender identity." This article covers: the detention of irregular migrants and effects on LGBTI populations—factors contributing to LGBTI migration, expanding practice of immigration detention, and international human rights law and immigration detention; identification of LGBTI migrants; and specific protection gaps faced by LGBTI migrants—physical violence, sexual abuse, and aftereffects of violence, social isolation and segregation, barriers to medical care, and the high degree of trauma-related mental health issues.

LGBTI Migrants in Immigration Detention: A Global Perspective Cover

This webpage has been developed in an effort to provide current and useful information to correctional agencies regarding the safe and respectful management of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons in custody and under supervision. Relying on a best practices approach, this information will enable correctional and supervising staff to make better decisions about the safety, security, treatment, and care of LGBTI persons by providing academic, cultural, and legal perspectives of the issues that make this group unique.

Changes in federal and state legislation, court decisions, settlement agreements, and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards are important factors in the management of LGBTI persons and should be carefully reviewed in consideration of policy development. 

Agencies wishing to participate in training and/or examine and improve their response to the management of LGBTI persons may apply for limited, short-term technical assistance to aid their efforts.

Please visit our LGBTI Policy Review and Development Guide microsite to continue researching this topic:

Good correctional practice includes applying principles of risk based classification to all adult and juvenile offenders while accounting for unique characteristics and concerns of LGBTI and gender non-conforming populations. To ensure a culture of safety, it is important to identify these individuals at intake. A culture of safety includes everyone understanding and practicing respectful, appropriate and professional language.

Intake personnel function as the “gatekeepers” for correctional systems and facilities and are a critical component in the information gathering process. If information obtained at intake is inaccurate or misleading, it can have dire consequences and impact safety. Staff must have clear guidelines allowing for the consistent identification of LGBTI offenders and the collection of key information. Establishing good communication at intake is essential to obtain the necessary information for appropriate housing, medical and mental health referrals, programs, security level, and services in the community. During this broadcast we will demonstrate effective and professional communication with LGBTI offenders during intake and make recommendations to improve the intake process.

Using a variety of methods including on-air discussions and activities, demonstrations and skills practice, this two-day six-hour interactive training broadcast is designed to: establish the relevance of initial information-gathering and how it impacts LGBTI populations from intake to successful reentry; provide recommendations and good correctional practice examples to ensure a culture of respect and safety at intake for LGBTI populations and correctional staff; and provide practical examples and demonstrate professional communication with LGBTI populations at intake.

LGBTI Populations: Intake – Creating a Culture of Safety [Internet Broadcast] Cover

Correctional agencies face many challenges surrounding the safe management of the populations they house and supervise. Due in part to changes in federal and state laws and the outcome of successful offender litigation, care and management of the LGBTI population has been identified as an emerging correctional issue that deserves special attention. While gender non-conforming offenders have always been present in facilities and on caseloads, we now have the opportunity to share information about this issue with a broader number of stakeholders and identify responsible and safe practices that are respectful of differences and reduce agencies’ susceptibility to liability and litigation.

This 3-hour broadcast from November 7, 2012 is meant to inform and increase awareness of strategies for developing policies and procedures for LGBTI populations. The broadcast will highlight promising practices by providing resources and examples of agencies who are responding to the needs of the LGBTI population in their setting. During this national discussion sponsored and broadcast by the National Institute of Corrections, presenters will: define a framework for developing strategies for ensuring the safety, dignity, and respect of LGBTI individuals in corrections settings; identify typical concerns and challenges that arise as agencies address the needs and requirements of LGBTI offenders in corrections settings; identify operational practices that can increase effectiveness of working with LGBTI offenders; and review and discuss effective policy and program development strategies that address LGBTI populations in corrections.

LGBTI Populations: Their Safety, Your Responsibility  Cover

While this tip-sheet is intended for mental health practitioners, it provides invaluable information for anyone working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Sections of this brief cover: terms to know when working with LGBTQ youth; continuums of sex, gender, and sexual orientation chart; issues and concerns for LGBTQ youth related to sexual orientation and sexual abuse; issues and concerns for parents of LGBTQ youth related to sexual orientation and sexual abuse; common myths and stereotypes about LGBTQ youth and sexual abuse; providing counseling to LGBTQ youth—examine your own beliefs and experiences, be open-minded and avoid making assumptions, steps toward creating a welcoming and inclusive environment at your agency, steps you can take with co-workers and in direct work with clients, and steps toward confidentiality; and treating LGBTQ youth following sexual abuse.

LGBTQ Youth and Sexual Abuse: Information for Mental Health Professionals cover


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