New Policy: Include transgender individuals in policy creation and establish a board of directors responsible for transgender issues in all Canadian prisons.
By including transgender individuals in the creation of policy, we hope to create guiding principles of practice that are specific to the needs of transgender inmates. The board of directors will oversee and approve of any policy creation and/or change while simultaneously working with a liaison or specialist from the prison in order to appropriately manage claims of accountability when a violation of human rights or policy is made.
Implementing a policy that has been created by and caters to the specific needs of transgender individuals, may be a viable approach toward promoting social inclusion, equal access and raising awareness within the larger confines of society. We can begin to include transgender individuals in policy creation a number of ways. By creating focus groups, a discovery process can begin to occur where we as policy makers become educated as to the specific problems the transgender inmate faces on a daily basis. Questions can be created in an interactive setting where participants are free to speak with fellow inmates and researchers as to the implications of current policy and how it can be improved, amended or replaced. If contact with transgender individuals is difficult and problematic, organizations that work directly with transgender individuals may allow policy makers to gain critical insight as to the most appropriate ways of approaching and working with transgender inmates. Moreover, agencies may refer particular transgender individuals to policy makers who may be considered social activists that have already been attempting to create change within the same domains.
The implementation of the board of directors would ensure that our prison and jail systems have an objective intermediary that is responsible for investigating and determining if there is evidence of discrimination and how the issue will be resolved. Preferably, there would be one board of director per province that is knowledgeable and sensitive towards the needs of the transgender individual. We believe that both including transgender individuals in the process of policy creation and by establishing a board of directors, we will be better able to protect the rights of the transgender inmate populace.