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Jail to house transgender men with women inmates
Posted By Bob Unruh On 04/08/2011 @ 11:40 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled
In a move the Illinois Family Institute suggests is more worthy of a skit on the television show “Saturday Night Live,” Cook County Jail in Chicago has instituted a new policy that assigns men and women to cells based on their perceived gender.
The concept that a man believes he is a woman or a woman believes she is a man was in the news just days ago when lawmakers in Maryland considered a bill that would ban statewide “discrimination” based on the gender people feel.
Responding to Cook County’s new policy, the Illinois Family Institute said “sexual anarchists” are seeking “to manipulate language in an attempt to convince
the public that cross-dressing and elective amputations of healthy body
parts are not signs of disordered thinking.”
“These rhetorical stratagems must be opposed at every turn, whether they occur in anti-discrimination and anti-bullying laws and policies, comprehensive sex ed, or fatuous, costly jail policies,” IFI commented.
Jail spokesman Steve Patterson told WND that the policy was put into use the week it was implemented.
“There was indeed a transgender detainee who came into our custody,” he said.
Patterson said the person “had a lengthy arrest record and was unable to post bond while awaiting trial on her most recent charge.”
“She had been through some surgical procedures already and self-identified as a woman,” he said. “Because of the physical changes and self identity, she has been housed in our female rehabilitative unit, where she has access to existing programs and mental health services,” Patterson wrote. “She is housed alone and showers alone, but otherwise interacts with the women in her unit.”
Patterson added, “Interestingly, over those three weeks, our staff has noted a dramatic difference in her behavior. She is engaged in regular discussions about traumatic abuses and events in her life and has shown markedly improved change. She indicated it is the first time of her many incarcerations that she was assigned as a female or received any level of counseling or mental health services.”
The first confirmation of the policy change came from Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart in an interview with the Windy City Times.
He said the policy was launched March 21 and apparently is the first of its kind in the nation.
“We wanted to do it right,” Dart told the newspaper.
He said the policy requires “transgender” detainees be allowed to consult a “Gender Identity Panel” that includes doctors and therapists, and they are not necessarily placed in a cell block that their biological identity would suggest.
He explained the policy directs staff members to allow “transgender” inmates to have clothing and hygiene products that accommodate their gender identity. The policy also mandates that staff members undergo “sensitivity training” presented by the department.
Laurie Higgins, in a commentary at the Illinois Family Institute, wrote, “So who, pray tell, is footing the bill for the ‘Gender Identity Panel’ with whom the gender-confused detainees get to consult? And who is footing the bill for the mandatory sensitivity training administered to corrections staff, physicians and therapists?”
Higgins continued, “Here’s another pragmatic thought: Does anyone actually believe that women who wish they were men will want to be detained in the men’s facility at Cook County Jail? Doubtful. What we’re really talking about then is housing men who wish they were women in the women’s facility at Cook County Jail. Men who wear women’s cosmetics and women’s clothing are, in reality, men. … Why should female detainees have to room with seriously confused men?”
The Times report said Owen Daniel-McCarter, a lawyer with the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois, reported his clients had had bad experiences in the jail.
The report noted that Dr. Avery Hart, the medical officer for the company that oversees health issues at the jail, said there are probably two or three “transgender” inmates in the 9,000-population facility at any point.
The report said while San Francisco also recognizes the gender identity issue of inmates, the Chicago policy is unique because it includes the recommendations of the special panel of therapists and others.
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