Obama Administration Issues LGBT-Inclusive Rules Aimed at Eliminating Prison Sexual Assault

Chris Geidner

Today, the Obama administration announced that it has finalized regulations implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act. According to an executive summary provided to members of the media and a conference call held with reporters, the regulations include provisions relating to “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and gender nonconforming inmates” — a development a leading LGBT advocate calls one of the most important LGBT advancements in the administration.

Although the administration — in a memorandum released today by President Obama — has concluded that the PREA “applies to all Federal confinement facilities,” the administration is allowing other agencies — including the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for administering immigration detention facilities — to “work with the Attorney General” to propose their own rules in this area in the next 120 days.

A senior White House official told reporters that the PREA does apply to “DHS immigration confinement facilities” and said, “There will be a separate rulemaking by DHS. They’ll work with [the Department of Justice] on the standards, they’ll publish proposed standards within 120 days as directed by the presidential memorandum.”

Specifically relating to LGBTI people, as part of efforts to prevent prison sexual abuse, the Department of Justice states that facilities subject to the PREA “incorporate unique vulnerabilities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and gender nonconforming inmates into training and screening protocols.”

The rule’s executive summary, which was provided to reporters today, expands upon this area…

…National Center for Transgender Equality executive director Mara Keisling tells Metro Weekly of the news, “This is a really, really big fucking issue.”…

…”This is a really humongous deal,” she said, noting the people have been working on these rules since the legislation passed in 2003. “There’s a lot of really good LGBT stuff in it.”…

…Regarding searches conducted of transgender people, the summary states, “The standards impose a complete ban on searching or physically examining a transgender or intersex inmate for the sole purpose of determining the inmate’s genital status. Agencies must train security staff in conducting professional and respectful cross-gender pat-down searches and searches of transgender and intersex inmates.”…

Read the complete article at MetroWeekly.

H/T Pat Dollard

Comments are closed.