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PREA and LGBTI Rights
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By Terri Schuster

This article focuses on both the basic and the more progressive best practices available for safely managing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LBGTI) inmates. Effective management sometimes means that stereotypes need to be torn down through education and training. For example, LBGTI inmates are far more likely to be victims of abuse in jail than to be the perpetrators, despite beliefs to the contrary among some corrections personnel. Transgender inmates in particular face the highest risk of harassment, abuse, or exploitation while in custody. Jails and their staff members need accurate information to better provide for the safety and other needs of gender-nonconforming inmates.

Passage and implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) has given jails significant guidance for conducting searches and making housing decisions. In other areas, such as provision of medical services to transsexuals in custody, agencies must rely on the knowledge and expertise of medical staff.

The author discusses why jails should not rely on restricted housing or isolation to protect gender-nonconforming inmates. He also describes the particular stresses experienced by LBGTI youth whose life paths have led them to secure confinement. Recommendations are provided for responding to rule infractions involving consensual sexual relations between inmates. Schuster concludes by commenting that, as an indirect result of PREA, “Jails and prisons . . . are blazing a trail for our other societal institutions to guard the safety and dignity of LGBTI people.”

This article appears in the March-April 2014 issue of American Jails magazine (vol. 28, n. 1). The link is published here with the permission of the American Jail Association.

Read the full article here

Posted Mon, Jun 16 2014 9:53 AM by Elizabeth


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