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More changes for transgender prisoners needed

in NEW ZEALAND, 05/10/2013

While commending the Corrections minister for the change in policy on housing transgender prisoners, a leading advocate for the change says there are more changes needed.

The government announced late last week that its policy of only housing transgender prisoners in gender-appropriate prisons if they had undergone gender reassignment surgery will be updated. Corrections must now locate prisoners in facilities which match their actual gender, not their sex at birth, though the department is unable to say when the new policy will come into practice.

"It's a fantastic advance, a real change from minister Anne Tolley and I commend her for it," says transgender lawyer Kelly Ellis. "It's a sea-change."

But Ellis says Corrections must also update its rules regarding access to treatment or support for prisoners who need to explore transitioning or who wish to start transitioning during their prison term.

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