New Prison Rape Elimination Act Regulations

| May 22, 2012 | Comments (0)

New prison rape elimination standards will save lives and will improve conditions for transgender and gender non-conforming prisoners.  This summary from the National Center for Transgender Equality provides a great overview of these historic new protections:

The U.S. Department of Justice has released landmark National Standards to Prevent, Detect and Respond to Prison Rape. Building on the recommendations provided by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and many allied advocates, the Standards include critical provisions for the operation of prisons and the treatment of transgender and gender nonconforming inmates, all aimed at ending sexual abuse.

These standards represent nearly a decade of study and effort to comprehensively address rampant sexual abuse in confinement. The standards address several problems transgender people, as well as those with intersex conditions, face, including:

  • Requiring a case-by-case consideration for housing in a male or female facility that is not based on genital status, meaning more trans women will be housed with other women.
  • Limiting the use of isolating “protective custody” that can amount to torture.
  • Limiting the use of segregated LGBTI units that are often treated as a quick fix and can stigmatize individuals.
  • Requiring staff training for professional communication with and treatment of transgender and gender nonconforming inmates and those with intersex conditions to aid in assessing inmate vulnerabilities to sexual abuse.
  • Banning the search or physical examination of transgender inmates and those with intersex conditions solely for determining their genital status.
  • Minimizing stigma and the threat of abuse from staff by disallowing dedicated LGBTQI units and facilities.
  • Requiring facilities to have multiple channels for reporting abuse without placing a time limit on when inmates can file grievances.

The final standards apply to all prisons, jails, police lock-ups, juvenile detention centers, and community confinement facilities nationwide that accept federal funds. Federal prisons must comply immediately, while all other facilities have one year to comply. Violators could face federal funding penalties.

A new report released by the Department of Justice confirms how critical these new protections are, revealing that LGBT people face shockingly high rates of sexual abuse within prisons and other confinement facilities.

At Basic Rights Oregon, we are working proactively within the criminal justice system to improve the lives of transgender prisoners here in Oregon. This incredible victory at the federal level will support the work we are doing at the state level.

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Category: News: Transgender Justice

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