Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Presentation- Pros and Cons of Policy Revision

Throughout the development of this blog, goals and objectives were proposed as well as recommendations for the improvement of Commissioner’s Directive 800. Pros and Cons of our new policy will now be explored within this improved version of the Commissioner’s Directive 800. By enacting this new policy we hope to eliminate the discrimination and hurdles that are inherent within this policy in the hopes of improving the quality of life for incarcerated transgendered individuals. Pros and cons will be assessed in terms of the new policy, as it is crucial to be constantly re-examining the new policy and its effects on the intended program.

Original Policy: Gender Identity Disorder
1. Sex reassignment surgery shall be considered during incarceration only when:
a. A recognized gender identity specialist has confirmed that the offender has satisfied the real life test, as described in the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care, for a minimum of one year prior to incarceration; and
b. The recognized gender identity specialist recommends surgery during incarceration.

The New Policy: Transgendered Individuals (eliminate the pathologizing of the individual)
1. Sex Reassignment Surgery for Transgendered people in prison will be a self-determining process between the transgendered individual and the specialist of their choice.
a. Mandatory Transgender specific training and certification for all prison staff.
b. Prison staff accountability for hate crimes and hate speech.
c. Board of directors would oversee all aspects of the treatment of Transgender inmates.
Pros of this new policy, that have been pinpointed, revolve around increased respect for the incarcerated transgendered individual by allowing for Trans empowerment through flexibility, access and self-determination. One positive aspect of the new policy is in the way this policy will allow for flexibility in terms of lengths of life tests. We will also allow access to previous doctors that were being utilized in the individual’s community, thus decreasing the risk of receiving medical care from a transphobic doctor. Next we will encourage input from the individual in determining their own life path. Lastly, we will decrease the ammount of hate crimes by enacting mandatory education programs for prison staff. All of these positive steps within our revised policy will be monitored by a board of directors in order to ensure quality of implementation. Client satisfaction surveys will also be utilized in order to assess whether these factors are in fact "pros" within our new policy. Surveys will be used in order to measure levels of efficacy in reaching the desired population.

The pros of this policy are plentiful, and looking through an anti-oppressive lens the cons seem fairly minimal. However, some individuals would argue, from a cost benefit perspective, that this new policy is too costly, although, I would tend to argue just the opposite. By placing a monetary value to the new and improved quality of life for the Trans individual, we would be able to see that this policy is indeed cost effective. Another negative aspect of this changed policy, from certain perspectives, would be increased workload for Jail staff, as they would be required to attend and be certified in Trans specific programming. Although, looking again through an anti-oppressive lens this negative could easily be seen as a positive step towards eliminating discrimination within the prison system.

The myriad positive aspects of this improved policy far outweigh the negatives, as we are ultimately eliminating government sanctioned systemic oppression of transgendered individuals in the prison system. There are many ways that the incarcerated transgender individual would benefit from this policy change and implementation. Pros include: Trans empowerment, increased self-determination, decreased hate crimes through trans education and specific ways of monitoring the lives of Trans individuals in prisons, through use of a board of directors. In order to begin the implementation process we will draw from sources such as the media, internet(see you tube clip), feature stories and news releases. Due to the fact that this implementation is in its infancy, monitoring and evaluating is the crucial next step in ensuring success. Although we have stated the pros and cons of this policy, we must continue to assess these factors, as new pros and cons will undoubtedly surface. Through consistent monitoring we will be able to pinpoint needed change within the policy in order to devise a policy that works towards the best possible quality of life for Trans people in prison.

1 comment:

  1. I did find your post interesting, and although I do agree with some of your points in terms of trans rights- I think the current political climate would need to be much different in order for this policy to even be considered.
    You speak about monitoring and evaluating, how do you propose to do this?