WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO

LA TIMES – April 5, 2021

Kelly Blackwell longs to escape her life as a transgender woman in a California men’s prison, where she struggles every day to avoid being seen in her bra and panties and says she once faced discipline after fighting back when an inmate in her cell asked for oral sex.
After more than 30 years, and two decades since Blackwell began hormone therapy, her chance to leave arrived last fall when groundbreaking legislation gave transgender, intersex and nonbinary inmates the right, regardless of anatomy, to choose whether to be housed in a male or female prison.
The demand has been high, with 261 requests for transfers since SB 132 took effect Jan. 1, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. It’s the start of a hugely sensitive operation playing out in one of the largest prison systems in the country.

BUZFEED – April 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department took a new position this week in support of the rights of transgender people in prison and sent a signal that the Biden administration is moving away from Trump administration policies that rolled back legal protections for LGBTQ individuals.

Late on Thursday, the DOJ filed what’s known as a “statement of interest” by the US government in a lawsuit from Ashley Diamond against the Georgia Department of Corrections. Diamond, a transgender woman, says that she has been sexually assaulted more than 14 times in men’s prisons since her incarceration in 2019 and is accusing prison officials of knowingly putting her in danger of sexual assault and harassment by refusing to house her in women’s facilities in violation of her constitutional rights; she’s also alleging that they’ve failed to treat her gender dysphoria

ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. announced on Wednesday his office will no longer prosecute prostitution and unlicensed massage operations, moving to dismiss more than 900 such pending cases.


Vance is also dismissing more than 5,000 loitering cases related to prostitution, following the state’s repeal earlier this year of the law known as “Walking While Trans.”


Vance’s measures also were applauded by several state and national anti-human-trafficking organizations.


“Black, Brown and East Asian women and girls, immigrants, and LGBTQ people have been disproportionately harmed by these laws,” said representatives of the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition, in a joint statement. “Manhattan is the first borough to make the critical connection that using ‘unlicensed practice of a profession’ is a charge that is often used to make arrests in massage businesses.”

A FEDERAL INMATE THREATENED ANOTHER FOR BEING GAY. THEN GUARDS MOVED THEM INTO THE SAME CELL.

In May 2014, Arapahoe, then 21, pleaded guilty to a federal charge of transporting a stolen car across state lines and was sentenced to nine months in prison.

He was initially incarcerated at the FCI Florence, a medium-security facility on a larger federal prison complex in Colorado, where he tried to conceal his sexual orientation. But according to Arapahoe’s court complaint and a plea agreement Mexican later signed, Mexican targeted and harassed him.


About two months later, Mexican was transferred into Arapahoe’s cell. The two men were left alone and unsupervised for more than two days, the complaint said.

The brutal beating and multiple rapes that ensued afterward, according to Arapahoe, form the basis of the complaint he filed against 29 prison officials — mostly guards — from the facility.

WITNESS LA – March 2, 2021

People identifying LGBTQ+ are overrepresented at all points of the criminal justice system. A new report from the Prison Policy Initiative takes a closer look at just how steep those disparities are, the factors likely fueling the over-incarceration of LGBTQ+ people, and places where data is limited.
The overrepresentation of LGBTQ+ people in the justice system begins before adulthood. An estimated 20 percent of youth in the juvenile justice system are LGBTQ+. And 40 percent of youth in carceral facilities for girls identify as lesbian, bi, queer, and/or gender non-conforming (trans kids missing from this data, as well).
PPI notes that the high rate of justice system involvement for these youth is often due to “the obstacles that LGBTQ youth face after fleeing abuse and lack of acceptance at home because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” In this way, young people are “pushed towards criminalized behaviors such as drug sales, theft, or survival sex, which increase their risk of arrest and confinement.”