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Canada’s correctional service reverses transgender inmate placement policy

Meka Beresford January 14, 2017

Canada’s correctional service has reversed a policy that would have seen transgender inmates unfairly discriminated against.

The turn around comes just a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to house trans inmates based on their gender identity.

Correctional Service Canada spokesman Jean-Paul Surette said that trans inmates will now be considered for placement in prisons based on their gender identity.

“We are currently assessing — on a case-by-case basis — individual inmates’ placement and accommodation requests to ensure the most appropriate measures are taken to respect the dignity, rights and security of all inmates under our custody,” he told CBC News.

The CSC quickly dropped the revised policy which was released before Trudeau announced his plans. The policy stated that inmates would be placed according to the sex they were given at birth, a total disregard to their gender identity.

“Pre-operative male to female offenders with gender dysphoria will be held in men’s institutions and pre-operative female to male offenders with gender dysphoria will be held in women’s institutions,” the policy read.

Trudeau pledged to allow trans prisoners to serve their sentences in prisons that properly corresponded to their gender identity after a former trans prisoner told him of her ordeal, describing it as “torture”.

“I will make sure we look at it and we address it and we do right in recognizing that trans rights are human rights and we need to make sure we are defending everyone’s dignity and rights in every way we can,” he said.

Trudeau received support from the Correctional Investigator of Canada, Ivan Zinger, who described the initial CSC policy as “disappointing”.

“In my view, there should be a presumption of penitentiary placement based on gender identity, not based on genitalia,” he said.

More: Americas, Canada, Canada, inmate, Justin Trudeau, LGBT, prison, Trans, Transgender

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