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LAPD Starts First Prison Program for Transgender Inmates

The first holding facility solely for transgender inmates is being established in Los Angeles. Expected to open by the end of May 2012, the holding facility will house transgender inmates until they are arraigned.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the holding facility will also incorporate new rules focused on making transgender individuals feel safe and respected. Upon arrival, transgender inmates will no longer be pat down to determine their sex. After processing, both male and female clothing will be available to transgender inmates. Transgender inmates will be addressed by their preferred name, even if it is not their birth name. During their stay, they will also have the option to receive medical treatment, which includes hormone injections.

In 2007, the Transgender Working Group and the LAPD began to work to change the LAPD’s policies toward transgender inmates. The new holding facility will prevent all transgender inmates from automatically being housed in male jail facilities. The LAPD stresses that the new holding facility will house transgender inmates only until they are arraigned. After arraignment, transgender individuals will be transferred to county jails which do not have separate transgender areas.

The State of Nevada has approximately 25 to 50 thousand transgender residents. Though Nevada does not have any separate detention facility for transgender inmates, Nevada is making progress on transgender issues. In October 2011, Nevada became the fifteenth state to afford protection to transgender individuals when the Nevada Legislature passed a bill to protect transgender individuals from workplace discrimination. This new bill also protects transgender individuals from housing and public accommodations discrimination. The Nevada business community hopes, that as with the Gay rights protection bill passed in 1999, the transgender rights protection bill will increase the number of transgender individuals that visit Las Vegas and other parts of the state.

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