Sunday, November 9, 2008

Policies Overseen by Board of Directors

In order to ensure that transgendered inmates are being treated fairly and to minimize the opportunity for oppression, it is essential that policy be universal. Universal policies leave less room for prison to prison interpretations of rules and provide transgender inmates with clear cut expectations for their treatment while incarcerated. When policies are universal it is also easier to know when one is being misinterpreted. This is vital to stop human rights violations that are occurring in today’s correctional system.

The goal of universal policies is to take away control from individual jails that may have transphobic leaders or those who are not educated on transgender issues. It is recommended that these policies be made by transgendered people and specialist who are educated on transgender issues and who are trans-positive. The best way to ensure that the policies are relevant and being implemented properly is to have a board of directors responsible for transgender issues in Canadian prisons. This board would overview all aspects of the treatment of transgendered inmates. They would preferably be involved in policy changes, but if not would have to approve of all proposed plans. They would help in the hiring of trans-positive specialist to work with the inmates, and make sure that all staff were completing the mandatory training and held certification to attest to it. The board of directors would also be responsible for staying up to date with current issues and being well-informed of the corrections system and the improvements that need to be made.

The board of directors would ideally be made of transgender people and non transgendered individuals who are trans-positive. This should include but not be limited to SRS specialist, advocates, ex-inmates, and a psychologist. The board would be important because it gives prisons and employees someone to be accountable to when violations of policy or human rights are made.

Currently policies for transgendered inmates are up for interpretation by individual correctional facilities, therefore how an individual is treated and the rights they are afforded are dependent on where they end up serving their time. Furthermore there is really no one to hold jails accountable for their actions. Universal policies and a board of directors would be a good start to stopping oppression for transgender people in our prison system.

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