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September 1, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 35
 
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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

 

 



 
New protocols adopted at King County jail for Transgender, Intersex and gender variant inmates
New protocols adopted at King County jail for Transgender, Intersex and gender variant inmates
New policies and procedures to ensure inmates are "treated with dignity"

by Devin Glaser - SGN Contributing Writer

The King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention is expected to adopt new policies and procedures regarding Transgender, Intersex, and gender variant inmates. A working group of Transgender individuals and their allies drafted the protocols to ensure inmates are "treated with dignity" and that "staff have the information and support they need to be more effective."

The new policy will prevent inmates from being treated disparagingly by jail staff. Included in the protocols are mandates that prevent inmates from being strip-searched solely on the basis of determining biological gender; rules governing the use of pronouns; and the guarantee of requisite provisions (such as menstrual supplies or oversized shirts) that Transgender individuals would need in order to maintain their gender identity.

The need for such protocols already exists, according to Lincoln Rose, chair of the Seattle Trans Jail Policy Working Group. He recounted an instance in the Spring of 2005 when two Transgender men were mistreated by King County jail staff because of their gender identity. "We wanted to address what happened here," said Rose, "and prevent what was happening around the nation."

The Seattle Trans Jail Policy Working Group worked with the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention to create the policies and procedures during a year long process of research and draft revisions. Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and his assistant, Brian Hawksford, offered advice to the group during the creation of the protocols. Organizations such as Stop Prisoner Rape and the Northwest Women's Law Center also provided their support, Rose said.

In a letter to Mark Bolton, deputy director of the King County Correctional Facility, Rasmussen urged for the adoption of protocols. "I strongly encourage the administration&to implement a new policy consistent with the draft submitted to your office," he wrote. "Protocols are needed to help jail staff prevent discrimination&by following protocols respectful of Transgender inmates&"

The number of Transgender, intersex, and gender variant inmates was not available to the SGN, because such information is held by jail health services and is considered protected information. Currently, 2,363 inmates are housed at King County facilities in downtown Seattle and Kent.

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