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American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada questions transgender inmate policy

Edz Clarkson

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2k17 ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union of the State of Nevada has expressed “grave concerns” regarding a new Nevada Corrections Department guidelines on transgender prisoners embraced on Wednesday, August 30th, by the Board of State Prison Commissioners.

The Nevada Corrections Department drafted its first transgender stance after receiving receptions from community organizations as well as advocates.

The latest version of the policy requires staff assessment of detainees on a case-by-case grounds. It also has clauses for transgender prisoners to take bath separately from other jailbirds and be accommodated in single cells as resolved by the warden of the affected correctional institution.

A review board of committee will make recommendations regarding an inmate’s deployment and medical care. The Nevada Corrections Department and medical staff will make the final decisions.

In a press statement released on Thursday, August 31, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wrote that the agency failed to address a numerous of the organization’s recommendations in the final guidelines, “raising serious concerns about the constitutionality of some provisions as well as their compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act.”

“While the ACLU of Nevada appreciates the Department of Corrections for hearing our concerns, its failure to act on them poses a serious problem,” ACLU of Nevada Executive Director Tod Story said. “We are looking at all available options in order to ensure that the state’s handling of prisoners who are transgender is compliant with PREA and does not violate the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.”

The department failed to adopt the up-to-date terminology recommended by the ACLU of Nevada in May, including continued use of the term “gender identity disorder,” which is no longer recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union statement, the policies that allow transgender prisoners to obtain hormone maintenance therapies only if they had been prescribed them before their imprisonment occurred with succeeding standards of care for gender dysphoria and with the Eighth Amendment, “which bars prisons from denying access to certain types of treatments based on a blanket policy that does not allow for medical judgment based on an individual’s particular circumstances.”

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