A transgender inmate speaking with other cellmates for support.
Recidivism in the US

Basic Rights for Inmates: Ever Heard of the Transgender Offender Manual?

Trump’s Administration is at it again. They have issued changes in policy of the Federal Prison Bureau. It is aimed at transgender inmates.

A recent lawsuit filed by three women inmates in Texas against transgender prison inmates. Their suit does not follow proper procedures for grievances. It may be tossed due to prejudices and biases. Regardless, it fuels the debate.

What Is the Transgender Offender Manual?

The Transgender Offender Manual (once a case-by-case basis) will categorize inmates based on their biological sex, not their gender identity.

Many human rights organizations have written Trump in protest. It violates their rights as humans and puts their safety at risk while serving time inside prison facilities.

What people don’t understand, they tend to fear.

Transgender Prison Inmate Marie Dean
Transgender Prison Inmate Marie Dean. Image Source: IPP Family Campaign. Click here to read more.

Your Rights as a Criminal

We don’t often think of criminals as having rights. Since they committed a crime, many are forgotten and rehabilitation isn’t available. Criminals are people just like you and me.

There are many serving sentences for crimes they did not commit. Or they are serving an excessive sentence for a minor infraction. Others were young, and went down the wrong path or hung out with the wrong crowd.

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Everyone deserves a second chance.

Most people believe once you are in the hands of the authorities, your rights are gone. This is far from the truth. As you are being arrested, you have rights and you should be apprised of them:

  • Remaining silent, anything said can be used against you
  • Having an attorney present, especially during questioning (see above)
  • BEING TREATED HUMANELY, no matter what the crime
  • Being held unfairly, for extended periods without charges
  • Treated as innocent until proven guilty (another aspect of being treated humanely!)
  • Right to a speedy trial
  • Cruel and unusual punishment while imprisoned – our 8th Amendment right

 

A trans inmate speaking with other cellmates for support.
Tyneisha Stephens (left), a transgender inmate in Harris County Jail, has stated that she feels uncomfortable with how certain males look at her in the facility. Image Source: LGBTQ Nation

Your Rights as a Human in the Criminal Justice System

The United States criminal justice system often violates these rights from the beginning. When your basic rights as a human being are violated and you are not treated humanely. You are often treated guilty until prove innocent.

We see examples of this in the news on a regular basis. Racial profiling, for example, causing innocent children to be gunned down because police allege their cell phones looked like guns.

Inmates are, once again, being denied their basic human rights based on gender. One of the oldest forms of discrimination, next to skin color.

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Raise Your Voice Against Human Right Violations

Remember, even in the throws of having your rights violated, you cannot fight the system as a statistic. We enact systematic changes when we fight for our rights given to us by the Constitution.

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Instead of acting out, talk to an attorney when you feel your rights are violated. The more people who stand up for our rights, the more we can look forward to changes in the system.

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Heather Kay
Heather Kay is a NorCal native who bloomed later in life. After finishing her journalism degree, her adventures took her across the pond to travel around Europe. She hopes to settle there someday and write about food and cultures. No matter where she is, she looks for taco ingredients; it reminds her of her family and home. She is a writer with several blogs, published articles and is currently an editor for the Prison Rideshare Network.
http://www.happyhippyhedy.com