Dignity, respect at heart of trans prisoner reforms

Media release
Trans and gender diverse prisoners may be considered for placement in a Western Australian prison that is different to their legally documented gender under new Department of Justice policies.
Trans prisoner reform

The comprehensive Corrective Services policies and procedures concerning trans, gender diverse and intersex prisoners or youth detainees took effect on November 23.

The new regime provides a structure for the management of trans and gender diverse prisoners or detainees with a focus on decency, respect and humanity, and with regards to the safety of all prisoners, detainees and staff.

The policies follow extensive internal and external consultation including experts from Curtin University, TransFolk of WA, the WA AIDS Council and the Mental Health Commission, along with jurisdictional and international research.

Where a prisoner or detainee self identifies as trans or gender diverse, the new procedures will apply to the reception process, identity, placement, privacy, clothing and issue of personal effects.

The offender data system has been revised to enable recognition and documentation of trans and gender diversity.

"It is unlawful to discriminate against a person based on their gender identity or intersex status," Acting Corrective Services Commissioner Mike Reynolds said.

"It is therefore our ethical, moral and legal responsibility to ensure that trans, gender diverse or intersex prisoners and detainees are treated with dignity and respect," Acting Commissioner Reynolds said.

Prison placement will take into account a prisoner’s current offence, criminal history and previous custodial history. Each individual can provide input to the assessment and be allowed to appeal the decision on their placement.

A tailored individual management plan will be developed using a multi-disciplinary approach when a placement decision has been finalised.

Prisoners and detainees who identify as trans, gender diverse or intersex after admission will be managed in accordance with the new policies and procedures.

Prison and youth custodial officers have been provided training regarding management of these individuals.

Under existing policy, prisoners undergoing hormone replacement therapy prior to admission can continue the treatment while in prison.

Page reviewed 24 November 2020