Last Thursday, March 1st, Immigration Equality announced that DHS has new standards regarding transgender persons while in detention. These new additions are included in ICE’s Performance Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS) and are the result of a meeting in 2009 between DHS and LGBT and immigration rights groups. The topic of this meeting was to discuss “the special vulnerabilities and abuses that LGBT detainees face every day, including: administrative segregation (isolation); lack of transition related medical care; and homophobic and transphobic verbal, physical and sexual abuse by other detainees and detention staff.” Though these new standards are a long-awaited improvement toward the treatment of transgender individuals while detained, the absence of clearly stating “LGBT individuals” in this update somewhat undermines the sense of advancement.
The new standards are very thorough, comprising 397 pages. Of these 397 pages, my search for the term “transgender” resulted in only 6 pages, which is arguably better than a result of zero pages. I have included screen shots of the sections mentioning the new procedures regarding transgender detainees below:
Page 58: Strip Search
Page 64: Housing & Mention of Transgender as “risk of victimization or assault”
Page 249: Continuing Medical & Mental Healthcare
Link to Immigration Equality article: http://www.immigrationequality.org/2012/03/dhs-issues-new-detention-standards/