New York City inmates will get to choose where they’re housed based on their gender identity, officials announced Monday.
“Respecting someone’s gender identity or gender expression is key in making sure that everyone in New York City is living with dignity and respect,” said Carmelyn Malalis, who heads the Commission on Human Rights. “The fact that somebody’s incarcerated or not doesn’t really change that.”
New York will join San Francisco in establishing a policy to accommodate transgender inmates.
Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an order in 2016directing all public schools, recreation centers and other city buildings that have single-sex bathrooms and locker rooms to let people use the bathrooms of the gender with which they identify.
The Department of Correction initially received a partial exemption because of inmate safety concerns.
A report issued in February by the Board of Correction, which oversees the department, said inmates were not routinely informed of a 26-bed transgender unit.Under the new policy, the agency will house inmates consistent with their gender identity unless the outcome of a federally required safety assessment or the preferences of the inmate require alternative housing.