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Policy Review and Development Guide: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Persons in Custodial Settings

NCJ Number
Brenda V. Smith; Melissa C. Loomis; Jaime M. Yarussi; Jody Marksamer
Date Published
August 2013
79 pages

This guide is a first step in assisting correctional agencies to identify, address, and respond to the sexual abuse of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons in custodial settings.


In these efforts, the guide assists correctional agencies in implementing the Federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards, which require correctional agencies to screen, classify, and appropriately house LGBTI inmates. The authors advise that the guide is not intended to be a quick reference for writing policies appropriate for all agencies and/or facilities. Rather, it defines agencies' obligations to LGBTI populations, both legally and in compliance with PREA standards, and begins a dialog within agencies about the safety and treatment needs of LGBTI populations. In addition, agencies are guided in asking appropriate questions about practices and implementation strategies for meeting the needs of LGBTI populations. Chapter 1 discusses general terminology and the reasons why agencies need policies specifically for LGBTI inmates. It discusses the terminology needed in order to understand sexual-orientation issues, because without a basic understanding of these terms, it is difficult to understand the issues and concerns of LGBTI individuals and the challenges they face in custodial settings. Chapter 2 discusses the needs of juvenile justice agencies in developing policies for LGBTI youth in custody. Topics addressed include relevant legal mandates and elements of legally sound and effective policy and practice toward LGBTI in-custody populations. These elements include nondiscrimination policies; intake, risk assessment, and classification; housing specifications; respectful communication; medical and mental health care; privacy and safety; and the sexual abuse of LGBTI youth. Chapter 3 considers the needs of adult correctional settings in developing policies for LGBTI inmates. Appendixes contain a glossary, a case digest, resources on LGBTI issues, sample policies, and a training matrix.