Transgender people often face severe discrimination and rejection. Some kinds of transgender people are more likely to be convicted of a crime and sent to jail. The crimes that trans people commit are often to get things like food or a place to stay. Some kinds of trans people are more likely to commit crimes to survive:
Juveniles who experience rejection, violence, or both:
- kicked out or run away from home
- bullying or harassment from peers
- expelled or drop out of school
Juveniles and adults who face some or all of these:
- food insecurity
- housing insecurity / homelessness
- job insecurity / unemployment
- health insecurity / poor access to health services
- discrimination based on things like race, age, country of origin, disability, or appearance
Most crimes that transgender people commit are not violent crimes. They are property crimes, drug and alcohol offenses, and crimes related to sex work like loitering, lewd conduct, or public indecency.
Once in custody, trans people face huge problems:
- Higher rates of being targeted for violence and sexual assault
- Hard time getting health services
- Questions about where they should stay
- Many places are segregated by sex. Many places hold trans prisoners in a separate area or even in solitary confinement. Rules are different in each jurisdiction, so city jails, county jails, parish jails, provincial correctional centres, secure treatment facilities, juvenile facilities, state prisons, federal prisons, and military prisons often have different policies.
ACLU National Prison Project (aclu.org/prison)
- The American Civil Liberties Union works to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
- Contact your local ACLU affiliate for best results (aclu.org/affiliates)
- General inquiries to the national office will be delayed:
- 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York NY 10004
National Center for Transgender Equality (transequality.org)
Transgender Law Center (transgenderlawcenter.org)
Sylvia Rivera Law Project (srlp.org)
- Prisoner Justice Project
- SRLP PAC Member Isabella Adler Shares Her Tips For Surviving In Prison as a Trans Woman
TGI Justice Project (tgijp.org)
Trans Justice Funding Project (transjusticefundingproject.org)
Immigration Equality (immigrationequality.org)
- Since 1977, The National Center for Lesbian Rights has advanced the civil and human rights of our full LGBTQ community and their families through impact litigation, public policy, and public education.
Just Detention International (justdetention.org)
- Just Detention International is a health and human rights organization that seeks to end sexual abuse in all forms of detention.
- Still in Danger: The Ongoing Threat of Sexual Violence Against Transgender Prisoners
- 3325 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 340 Los Angeles, CA 90010
American Friends Service Committee (afsc.org)
- They publish an LGBTQ+ Prisoner Resource Guide.
Lambda Legal (lambdalegal.org)
Justice Action (justiceaction.org.au)
- Australian rights group. Basics on Transgender Inmates
Press for Change (pfc.org.uk)
Breaking out of the Prison Hierarchy: Transgender Prisoners, Rape, and the Eighth Amendment (PDF) by Christine Peek
To Keep Me Safe From Harm? Transgender Prisoners And The Experience Of Imprisonment (link) by Richard Edney, Deakin Law Review.
Life in hell: In California prisons, an unconventional gender identity can be like an added sentence by Tali Woodward, San Francisco Bay Guardian