Sunday, November 9, 2008

Policy Creation: Involvement of Transgender Specialist

In order to carry on with our goal of creating uniform, fair and non-discriminatory policy to protect incarcerated transgendered inmates, our recommendation is to hire a specialist that will advocate for the rights of the transgendered inmate.

The specialist will preferably be a transgender themselves, and an advocate who is aware and understands the complexities of the transgender community. In order to create objectivity and impartiality, this individual should not be hired by the prison or jail system. This recommendation is formed upon the reality that prison staff are not educated on the unique needs of the transgendered inmate, and as previously mentioned may have long standing bias which directly influence the way they treat the transgender inmate. As a result, transgender inmates have minimal support within the prison system, feel uncomfortable speaking to staff and ultimately feel helpless if they are victimized. When vulnerable individuals are left alone and isolated, they are at defenseless, helpless and ultimately at risk for further maltreatment. In the following section we will discuss various aims and objectives we hope our specialist will fulfill.

The role of this specialist would be to cater to the victims of abuse or violence during their time spent in confinement. The specialist will be responsible for initiating inter-agency collaboration in order to coordinate safety planning strategies such as fair and consistent responses and penalties for discriminatory behavior towards the transgender inmate. Thus, they should understand the practices and politics of law enforcement and the prison system. The specialist will provide information and insight about how the criminal justice system works and when necessary support the inmate during court proceedings. The specialist will act as a consultant and provide information and support in order for the victim to decide how best to protect their interests and attain a level of security. However, they shouldn’t let their personal views dominate the work with their inmates. It is important that this person displays characteristic such as empathy, compassion and kindness.

Specialists that become involved in policy creation and work directly with transgender inmates in prison have similar positions to those of an advocate. For more information on this role, please visit

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