Prisons in British Columbia will no longer jail transgender women in men’s prisons and transgender men in women’s prisons after its Department of Corrections changed its policies.
Previously only transgender people who had undergone full genital surgery were allowed to be housed in the correct prison for their gender.
‘Transgender inmates are placed in a correctional center according to their self-identified gender or housing preference, unless there are overriding health and/or safety concerns which cannot be resolved,’ the new regulation, Section 9.17 of the British Columbia Adult Custody Policy, reads.
‘Those concerns are clearly articulated to the inmate. Consultation occurs with the medical director and/or the director, mental health services.’
However the new regulation also recognizes that there may be instances where some transgender individuals may not wish to be placed in a prison of their gender.
‘The inmate is involved in the decision-making process,’ the new regulation reads, ‘It is recognized that not all transgender inmates want to be housed according to their self-identified gender.’
In implementing this policy shift British Columbia joins only Ontario in being a Canadian province that respects transgender people’s needs and wishes when it comes to incarcerating them.