Transgender prisoner resources

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:

  • Children and teens who are kicked out of their homes or run away due to rejection, violence, or both.
  • 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 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 solitary confinement. Rules are different in each jurisdiction, so city jails, county jails, parish jails, provincial correctional centres, state prisons, federal prisons, and military prisons often have different policies.

US resources

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:

National Center for Transgender Equality (transequality.org)

Transgender Law Center (transgenderlawcenter.org)

Sylvia Rivera Law Project (srlp.org)

TGI Justice Project (tgijp.org)

Trans Justice Funding Project (transjusticefundingproject.org)

Immigration Equality (immigrationequality.org)

NCLR (nclrights.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)

American Friends Service Committee (afsc.org)

Lambda Legal (lambdalegal.org)

International resources

Justice Action (justiceaction.org.au)

Press for Change (pfc.org.uk)

Articles

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.http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/DeakinLRev/2004/17.html

Life in hell: In California prisons, an unconventional gender identity can be like an added sentence by Tali Woodward, San Francisco Bay Guardian