Grace Carr, DCNF
Transgender prisoners in Connecticut can now live with other inmates according to their gender identity rather than their biological sex, marking a departure from federal law and other state laws mandating that prisoners are housed according to biology.
The change comes after Connecticut authorities held a teen prisoner in an adult women’s prison because its policies regarding transgender housing was uncertain, according to Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy’s criminal justice undersecretary Mike Lawlor, Newsweek reported.
“It sets as the presumptive standard that transgender women are housed with women and transgender men are housed with men, which is in stark contrast to laws in other states and at the federal level,” GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) director Jennifer Levi told Newsweek, applauding the law.
Connecticut has already begun allowing transgender prisoners to be housed with members of their preferred sex in an effort to prepare for and smooth the transition to the law’s stipulations set to take effect July 1, 2018.
“They will, of course, have to continue to train prison officials to ensure compliance with the law given pervasive misunderstandings about transgender people’s lives,” Levi added, noting that prison guards will have to respect the gender identity choices of their prisoners who are suffering from dysphoria.
A transgender prisoner in Colorado sued the Colorado Territorial Prison and sent (by attorney) the prison a May 7 resolution intended to pressure the facility to make official changes to policy so that transgender prisoners can be housed according to their gender identity.
A transgender inmate sued the Indiana Department of Corrections commissioner in November 2017 because the prison he was housed in wouldn’t provide him with hormone therapy. Another transgender inmate also sued a Massachusetts state prison in November 2017 because it won’t offer him female services like mammograms and tampons or house him with other female inmates.
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