May 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons made small changes to the wording of its policy on gender-confused inmates that critics say make it more likely that convicts will be housed in facilities that correspond with their biological sex.
Transgender activists are calling the updated policy “inhumane” and a “deliberate recipe for violence,” but the policy still makes it possible for men who say they are “transgender” to be housed in women’s correctional facilities, and vice versa.
“I think it’s important to note that the new policy still allows a decision to be made on a case-by-case basis and for the circumstances to be evaluated case-by-case, so I really don’t think there’s any reason to fear that this is going to put transgender prisoners in any greater jeopardy of being assaulted,” Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow at the Family Research Council, told LifeSiteNews.
“There’s no longer a one-size-fits-all rule that you can declare yourself to be a gender and then have access to the female facilities,” explained Joseph Backholm, President of the Family Policy Institute of Washington.
Backholm told LifeSiteNews, “People who are genuinely gender-dysphoric deserve compassion and concern but in those scenarios, they are not the only people that have rights. And so it’s important that the authorities in a situation take everyone’s rights into consideration and this new policy simply allows that to happen.”
The Bureau’s “Transgender Executive Council” (TEC) is the division that considers issues related to transgender prisoners. The sentence “The TEC will recommend housing by gender identity when appropriate” has been removed from its guidelines.
Instead, cases of gender-confused inmates will now be handled on a “case-by-case” basis, but “the TEC will use biological sex as the initial determination” for whether a person should be in a male or female facility.
Now, a number of factors that must be considered before placing a man in a woman’s facility or vice versa, such as “the health and safety of the transgender inmate,” “factors specific to the transgender inmate” like demeanor and behavior, and “whether placement would threaten the management and security of the institution and/or pose a risk to other inmates in the institution (e.g., considering inmates with histories of trauma, privacy concerns, etc.).”
Sending a man to a women’s prison or vice versa would “be appropriate only in rare cases” after such factors have been considered, the updated guidelines explain. The person must have also made “significant progress towards transition as demonstrated by medical and mental health history.”
The revised policy is “a deliberate recipe for violence against transgender people based in inexcusable prejudice,” said Richard Saenz of pro-LGBT Lambda Legal.
“It’s interesting that part of the discussion about this involves legislation that was designed to prevent prison rape,” commented Sprigg. “It seems to me that housing people of the opposite biological sex together in prisons would be the policy that would have the greatest risk of putting people at risk of prison rape. So housing people on the basis of their biological sex would seem to be safer.”
In a section on how inmates are to be given hormones and other transgender interventions, the new policy says in order for them to receive such procedures, they must be deemed “necessary.”
“Our position at Family Research Council it that ‘gender transition’ is never medically necessary and so it will remain to be seen how this plays out in practice,” said Sprigg.
But Sprigg said he is glad that “the initial presumption will be to house prisoners on the basis of their biological sex rather than their preferred ‘gender identity.’”
Many are speculating this policy change has to do with women in a federal prison in Texas who are suing over being forced to share showers and bathrooms with men.
“These men openly express their sexual desire for the women inmates, at times, in the showers, and bathrooms, while women are naked or partially clothed,” according to their complaint. “The men expose themselves, intentionally, for their own sexual gratification, causing the Plaintiffs to suffer disgust, embarrassment, humiliation, stress, degradation, fear and loss of dignity.”