by Brendan James
Jake Tapper interviewed a friend of Manning’s:
Emily Greenhouse notes that Manning could face serious danger in prison now that she’s announced her identity as a woman:
Discrimination and violence, especially sexual violence, against transgender women is disproportionately bad. And in prison, according to a 2009 study of inmates in California, some sixty per cent of male-to-female transgender individuals locked up with cisgendered men suffered sexual assault. Not one of the transgender inmates in the study trusted guards to protect them against rape and harm.
Amanda Hess explains the legal measures that are in place:
[D]etention facilities (including military ones) must follow special policies to protect inmates like her. In 2003, Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Though real-world implementation of the PREA standards has been slow-moving, the act ostensibly requires facilities to—among other things—take extra care in assigning housing to transgender inmates to reduce their risk of assault. That often means respecting the prisoner’s stated gender identity. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, housing decisions “must be made on a case-by-case basis” and “cannot be made solely on the basis of a person’s anatomy or gender assigned at birth.”
The transgender inmate’s “views regarding their personal safety must be seriously considered,” as well, and the “decisions must be reassessed at least twice per year.” Simply placing the at-risk inmate in solitary confinement to sidestep the gender issue is not an acceptable option.
Winston Ross notes how the same act could allow Manning to end up in a women’s prison:
[The Prison Rape Elimination Act] led to regulations from the federal Department of Justice to determine housing for transgender inmates on a case-by-case basis, “taking into account factors like personal preference and safety needs,” according to the ACLU, not solely based on their genitals. The act bans “protective custody” for transgender inmates, along with segregated LGBT housing units, and it requires staff to be trained on how to communicate with and treat transgender inmates, even including the ban of “genital searches of transgender inmates just to determine their gender.” Those rules, as of June, apply to all correctional facilities that require federal funding.
Manning’s notoriety and her public revelation about being transgender already put her at serious risk of harassment and/or rape at Leavenworth. No giant leap from there, then to argue that Manning would be best protected by the prison rape act by doing time in a women’s facility, [Dru Levasseur, transgender rights project director at Lambda Legal] said.
Previous commentary here.