Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Evolution of Prison Policy

The introduction of Canadian policy regarding the medical treatment of transgendered individuals occurred in 1982. I will illustrate the progress, although fairly minimal, that Canada has made since that 1982 implementation. In 1982 Correctional Service of Canada implemented a policy that stated that each inmate would be treated on an individual basis. No treatments were initiated while incarcerated. Continued hormone treatment would be provided if it "appeared" that the inmate would pursue SRS upon their release. Lastly, the policy DID NOT allow for any sex reassignment surgeries. This 1982 policy was fairly restrictive; although the policy allowing for occasional acceptance of hormone treatment was a step in the right direction.
In 1987 there was another revision of policy. This new policy remained firm on the position of no sexual reassignment surgeries. The alteration within the policy stipulated that inmates were allowed to be administered hormones, but the hormone treatments will cease nine months prior to release. This policy marked an increased oppression among transgendered individuals in the prison system.
Again this policy was altered, in 1993, to allow for hormone treatments throughout the entirety of incarceration. An interesting alteration of the policy was the new allowance for "sexual reconstructive surgery", although there was still no authorization for sexual reassignment surgery. Finally in 1995 sexual reassignment surgeries were permitted to take place, although, only with the explicit permission of the Regional Deputy Commissioner as well as the Commissioner of CSC. 1997 marked a negative shift in this policy, when the policy stated that there would be no consideration for sex reassigment surgery during the time of incarceration. http://www.chrt-tcdp.gc.ca/search/view_html.asp?doid=264&lg=_e&isruling=0
The current policy regarding sexual reassignment surgery among Canadian transgendered inmates states that there will be some allowances for the surgery. Although this is a progressive move towards decreasing oppression among transgendered inmates, there is still substantial work to be done in improving these life-altering policies. Restrictions regarding real life tests, and there required completion before incarceration, limits access to sexual reassignment surgery. For many inmates, due to these restrictions, SRS will never be approved; these policies are ultimately discriminating towards these members of the incarcerated transgendered community.

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