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Friday 14 January 2022

Transgender persons to get separate jail wards, facilities

Transgender inmates will soon get a separate enclosure/ward in prisons to ensure their right to privacy and dignity. While providing exclusive space for transmen and transwomen in correctional facilities, prison officials will ensure that they are not completely isolated from others.

In an advisory sent to the Heads of Prisons in the States and the Union Territories on Monday, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs said a person recognized as a transgender had the right to the self-perceived gender identity under the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.

While respecting the self-identity at all times in admission procedures, medical examination, search, lodging, clothing, treatment, and care, the jail officials should facilitate their access to the identity certificate by helping them apply/register on the national portal for them.

Calling for including transgender as a separate category in the prison admission register and management system, the advisory said in the event of the court warrant not mentioning the self-identified gender or if the gender is disputed by the person, the Jail Superintendent should, with the help of the legal services authorities, assist the person in making an application for a change in gender identity.

The Ministry laid out a procedure for searches suggesting that they be carried out by a person of their preferred gender or by a trained medical professional or a paramedic trained in conducting searches.

“The person conducting the search must ensure the safety, privacy, and dignity of the person being searched. At the stage where the search procedure requires stripping, it must be done in a private room or in a partitioned place. The search procedure should be confined to compliance with security protocols and restriction of contraband and should not be aimed at determining the gender of the person.”

Right to dignity
Laying emphasis on the same quality of healthcare and other facilities like communication with the outside world and rehabilitation after release, the Ministry said, “Due care may be taken by the prison authorities that this [separate facilities] may not result in their complete isolation or propagate social stigma among such prisoners. There should be adequate preservation of the right to privacy and dignity in regard to separate toilets for transmen and transwomen as well as shower facilities.”

The training modules for the staff could be devised in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the prison training institutes, the State Departments of Health, the State Human Rights Commission, the legal services authorities, and representatives of transgender communities for developing an understanding of gender identity, dysphoria, human rights, sexual orientation, and legal framework.

It also called for the training of prison medical officers in the standards of care for transgender persons and their right to decide their self-identified gender.

Source: The Hindu
Originally written by: S. Vijay Kumar
Image for representation only.

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