Demand Better Treatment for Transgender Inmates

Target: Federal Bureau of Prisons

Goal: Ensure better classification and treatment of transgender inmates.

When CeCe McDonald defended herself against a violent attack by a man hurling racial and transphobic epithets, her attacker ultimately succumbed to injuries incurred during the encounter. Following her arrest, CeCe pleaded guilty to second degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 41 months in prison. However, because CeCe is a male-to-female transsexual, she was wrongly placed in the men’s prison. It was later discovered that the same prison she resides in has ten other male-to-female transsexual inmates, all mistakenly housed in the men’s prison.

Transgender inmates are 13 times more likely to experience sexual violence and harassment by other inmates  and are usually not placed according to their preferred gender identity. As a result, they are often given extra wardens, or placed in solitary confinement, even if their crime wasn’t especially violent or serious.

Courts seem to vary on how they classify a prisoner’s gender identity, basing it on things such as whether they have had sex reassignment surgery, whether they are taking hormones, or even whether or not they are capable of impregnating females or becoming pregnant. There is also no transgender housing for transgender inmates in most prisons and jails, and no one is sure how many inmates in the US prison system are classified as transgender because the definition is so varied.

Better classification is needed now for transgender prisoners, especially as more prisons move to a for-profit model. Not only will better guidelines ensure the safety of transgender prisoners who have committed lesser crimes, but the extra security and resources devoted to protecting transgender prisoners will be reduced. By signing the petition below, you are asking the US to better define the classification of transgender inmates, and give them a better opportunity to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.


Transgender inmates are 13 times more likely to experience sexual violence and abuse, often because they are misclassified under the wrong gender. While no one knows how many transgender inmates there are in the US prison system and jails, many of them experience harassment, not only by their fellow inmates, but also by the justice system and police.

The harassment transgender inmates experience will affect their ability to reintegrate into society when their sentence is up, and costs the prisons more money when they are given extra guards and are placed in solitary confinement in order to provide some measure of protection, as well as medical care if and when they are the victims of sexual violence.  Furthermore, their gender classification can depend on any number of things, and varies from prison to prison.

I am asking you to define the gender classification process of transgender inmates and allow them to be housed according to their preferred gender identity. Not only will this drive down prison costs, but it will give transgender inmates a better chance at being rehabilitated and reintroduced into society.

[Your Name Here]

Sign the Petition

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42 Signatures

  • Ana Maria Mainhardt Carpes
  • Darlene Roepke
  • Frédérique Pommarat
  • Lynn Juozilaitis
  • Ann Blank
  • Eveline Mutsaerts
  • tam O
  • Mary-Carol Gales
  • Debbie Biere
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