This week the Justice Department published its new guidelines to put into place the Prison Rape Elimination Act (signed into law by then President George W. Bush). As reported by Think Progress, there are important protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming inmates.
‘The standards require training in effective and professional communication with LGBTI and gender nonconforming inmates and require the screening process to consider whether the inmate is, or is perceived to be, LGBTI or gender nonconforming,’ the White House executive summary of the guidelines said. ‘The standards also require that post-incident reviews consider whether the incident was motivated by LGBTI identification, status, or perceived status.’
‘We have an obligation as civilized people to protect the people we incarcerate. That has always been an American promise, but one we have barely tried to keep,’ said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. ‘These new standards, if fully implemented, have the potential to help us keep that promise at least in terms of sexual assault.’
According to numbers from the NCTE ‘more than one in three transgender former inmates was sexually abused.’ Various studies show ‘trans women are thirteen times more likely than others to be sexually assaulted while incarcerated.’
Seven percent of those partciapting in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey said they were ‘locked up at some point in their lives due to their gender identity.’ These numbers increased markedly for blacks and Latinos.