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UK: Prison and Probation Ombudsman’s Learning Lessons Bulletin Number 3: on Transgender Prisoners

10th January 2017

A bulletin has been released by the office of the Prison and Probation Ombudsman  (PPO)  This 'Learning Lessons' bulletin explores the care and management of transgender individuals while in prison. It draws on recommendations from PPO investigations into deaths in custody, as well as complaint investigations, and outlines six lessons that can be learnt from past cases. These recommendation are made against a backdrop of increasing numbers of deaths of transgender individuals in prison.

Key recommendations from the bulletin are:

  • The location of the transgender prisoner in the prison estate must be individually assessed, with consideration being made for the possibility of their placement in a prison suited to their chosen gender. The location agreed must allow them to live safely in their gender;
  • Assessment, Care in Custody & Teamwork (ACCT) case reviews  should be multi-disciplinary, and all relevant persons should be present;
  • Allegations of transphobic bullying must be adequately investigated so steps can be taken to challenge and prevent this behaviour in future;
  • Personal Officers should engage in meaningful contact with transgender prisoners,  and prison staff should be aware of their particular vulnerabilities of transgender prisoners;
  • Ensure local policies concerning the support and management of transgender prisoners are in line with national guidance, do not impose unfair additional restrictions, and are not interpreted more strictly than the PSI allows;
  • Reasonable adjustments must be made to allow the transgender prisoner to live in their preferred gender role, when such adjustments can be made safely without compromising security.

To read the bulletin click here

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