San Francisco Prisons Implement Reforms Giving Transgenders Special Treatments

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Grace Carr Reporter
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San Francisco county jails formally announced they are implementing a policy for transgenders that will respect their gender preferences, house them in the cells of their chosen identity, and offer other gender identity services.

The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department announced Wednesday that inmates who voluntarily identify as transgender, gender variant or non-binary will be able to choose a name and gender identity upon entering the prison. They will also get to determine if a man or woman will search them before they’re admitted into the prison, according to CBS San Fransisco.

Sheriff deputies and prison guards must address inmates according to the name and gender they’ve expressed. Transgender inmates may also request to live in their own 12-person cell with other transgender inmates if they so choose, according to San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy. Like other gender normative inmates, transgender inmates in San Fransisco county jails, will also be provided with classes, services and training.

“Our number one priority is safety for all: staff, inmates, visitors and service providers,” Hennessy said in a statement, CBS San Fransisco reported. “We thoughtfully and carefully considered and vetted every policy and procedure, which impacts our TGN inmates to ensure they feel protected, respected and have full access to the County Jail’s educational, vocational, recovery and life skills classes and services.”

More than 800 sheriff deputies and 200 prison staff members have received gender-awareness training and all new employees in San Fransisco prisons will receive the same training.

A federal judge also ruled in mid-February to grant a preliminary injunction forcing Potosi Correctional Center to provide an inmate with transitional hormone therapy and hair removal services. James Hicklin, who was convicted and charged with the murder of Sean Smith in 1995, now goes by Jessica Hicklin. He was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 2015 and will receive the services he desires despite serving 100 years in the Missouri prison without parole.

A transgender inmate sued the Indiana Department of Corrections commissioner in November because the prison he’s currently housed in wouldn’t provide him with hormone therapy. Another transgender inmate also sued a Massachusetts state prison in November because it won’t offer him female services like mammograms and tampons or house him with other female inmates.

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