Sunday, November 9, 2008

Accountability in Prison

Canada’s history is tainted by generations of hatred towards certain groups of people. "Hatred of Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, people with different political ideas, anyone who was different from the average white Christian." This type of hatred still exists today, and is not only perpetuated by average citizens; it is an ongoing systemic process. "There is still one group that you, government, courts, and politicians can hate. The criminal." When compiling a "criminal’s" identity with another label, such as transgender, it makes that individual even more of a target for hate within the prison system.

In terms of policy changes there are many goals that we must establish in order to reach our objectives. Our objectives are to keep transgender people safe in Canadian prisons. Secondly we would like to help provide the best quality of life possible within prison. This will be accomplished alongside our objective of eliminating bigoted jail guards, through education, and last resort, suspension or termination of oppressive guards. By educating the prisoners and guards we are hoping this increased knowledge will translate into a safer prison system.

Our goals that we must implement in order to reach the desired result, of a safer prison system for transgendered individuals, are first, decrease hate crimes and transphobia in prisons. Secondly, we must hold jail staff accountable for transphobic actions and hateful speech. Our third goal is to establish new policy, using the input of the Trans community, in order to punish transphobia within the prison system. Lastly, but most importantly, we would like to have mandatory education and training programs, for guards and inmates, on hate crimes and transphobia.

These goals can be directly translated into our recommendations to improve the incarcerated lives of transgender individuals. We recommend education and training. We recommend accountability in terms of hate crimes. Lastly we recommend, and frankly should expect, to implement new policy that protects the lives of all people, including trans individuals, within the Canadian prison system.

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