Italy “to open first prison for transgender inmates”

Bird of Paradox has a very interesting comment regarding Italy’s opening of a transgender specific prison over on her blog.

http://birdofparadox.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/italy-to-open-first-prison-for-transgender-inmates/

My first take on the idea was totally positive.  In 1968 I was gang raped in the San Francisco City Jail as a result of having been thrown into a hard core tank instead of the queen tank.

Back then one block of cells was set aside for people who were queens (transgender) and pre-op transsexuals.  I was about six months pre-coming out and was picked up in a raid on a Haight Ashbury apartment building where the cops did a no warrant, kick the door in on all three flats.

I was safe while we were together but we got the deserters out first and I was last to get out.

Later that year I was picked up again by the Tac Squad on the general “mopery with intent to gawk” harass the femme hippie queen bullshit.  This time a older black guard took one look at me and put me in the queen tank for my own safety.

How does this relate to today?

The general abuse of prisoners world wide is an abomination.  From arbitrary capital punishment and amputations to water boarding and other forms of grotesque torture there has been a world wide retreat from the idea of humane treatment of prisoners.

In the US you have Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose infamous abuse of prisoners is lauded by the ultra right wing conservatives as a desirable get tough on crime approach. This in a nation that has more people in the criminal justice system than any other nation in the world.

About twenty years ago I met a sister who later died of AIDS she contracted from being raped while in the California penal system.

Before we can even think about the questions raised in the commentary over at BOP I think we have to make sure that once in the grasp of the world wide prison industry people with transsexualism or transgenderism are treated in a manner that insures their physical safety.

No one TS/TG or non should be subjected to rape or abuse while in custody. One would hope that post-SRS people are assigned to the appropriate prisons or jails although I fear that this is not a given considering the vast cultural disparities.

I am given to think that special facilities especially if they are oriented towards those offenders convicted of such non-violent crimes as prostitution and drug offenses should be like the minimal security facilities used for white collar criminals. Places offering trans friendly health care and potential rehabilitatory job training.

Having transsexualism as a medical history rather than as an active concern probably causes me to locate the problem of transprisoners as an element of a larger picture and with less focus than one sees on BOP’s blog, nonetheless I think her post on this subject deserves a fair and honest read as it is very thought provoking.

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