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Tolley says Corrections are looking into issues faced by trans* prisoners

in NEW ZEALAND, 07/08/2013

A comprehensive review of the transgender prisoner policy is currently being undertaken by the Department of Corrections.  Minister Anne Tolley says “potential changes to the Corrections Regulations are being worked through which would enhance the management of transgender prisoners in our prisons.”

In a letter to Roxanne Peoples-Henare and Racheal McGonigal of the Group Transsexuals of New Zealand, the Minister of Corrections states that her department has worked hard to address the issues faced by transgender prisoners in New Zealand.

“While there are only a small number of prisoners in New Zealand who identify as transgender, I acknowledge that they are a vulnerable group with highly complex needs. Although it is widely recognised that the mangement of transgender prisoners is a complicated issue, Corrections has worked hard in recent years to ensure their safety and dignity is protected while they are in prison,” she says.

Tolley makes mention of the report released by the Office of the Ombudsman and the concerns raised concerning the management of transgender prisoners, recommending that Corrections review their policy concerning placement of prisoners. Under current corrections policy prisoners are housed in a prison according to the sex recorded at birth unless they have undergone full sex reassignment surgery leaving transgender inmates vulnerable and susceptible to abuse.

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