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Where the Margins Meet: A Demographic Assessment of Transgender Inmates in Men's Prisons

NCJ Number
Lori Sexton; Valerie Jenness; Jennifer Sumner
Date Published
June 2009
49 pages
This study examined the demographic and well-being factors of the transgender inmate population in California prisons.
The study examined the following demographic and well-being factors of the transgender inmate population in California prisons: age, race/ethnicity, age, race/ethnicity, offense category, custody level, type of life sentence, registered sex offender status, gang affiliation, mental health status, education and employment levels, marital status, health status, participation in sex work, homelessness, and experiences with victimization, both sexual and non-sexual. The study found that compared to the rest of the standard prison population, the transgender population had a very diverse set of demographics in terms of gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual attractions. For factors of well-being, the transgender population had lower levels of education and employment, higher levels of mental health and substance abuse problems, higher levels of HIV-rates, and higher levels of homelessness compared to the general prison population. The demographic and well-being factors of transgender inmates were also compared to those of the non-incarcerated population. Data for the study were obtained from interviews with transgender inmates in California prisons, as well as secondary data collected on the U.S. population, the California population, the U.S. men's prison population, the California men's prison population, and the transgender population in the community. The findings from the study indicate that the transgender population is not only marginalized in prison but in the larger community as well. Implications for policy are discussed. References, endnotes, and tables