San Fran's Sheriff Announces Policies to Empower Transgender Inmates

Craig Bannister | February 22, 2018 | 3:43pm EST
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San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy announced changes to her jail’s Transgender, Gender Variant and Non-Binary (TGN) Policy and Procedures on Tuesday.

San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy announces new rules to empower transgender inmates  (Screenshot)

The new rules will ensure TGN inmates feel safe and respected, Sheriff Hennessy said in a statement:

“We thoughtfully and carefully considered and vetted every policy and procedure, which impacts our TGN inmates to ensure they feel protected, respected and have full access to the County Jail’s educational, vocational, recovery and life skills classes and services.”

Three new policies empower transgender, gender-variant and non-binary inmates:

  1. Inmates may now ask for a gender-specific deputy to do a visual body search - the first such jail to allow this in the nation;
  2. They can express a preference where they would like to be housed so that their safety while showering and overall privacy can be better assured,
  3. Inmates now can fill out a "statement of preference" form identifying their gender and how they want to be addressed in jail.

Sheriff Hennessy explained that TGN inmates may specify – not just their gender identity – but also that of their inspecting officer:

“If they wish, they also will note their preference for the Deputy’s gender identity who will perform a visual body search – the first Sheriff’s Department in the country to offer this choice--as well as their housing preferences based on self-identified gender.”

About a thousand deputies and civilian correctional officers will undergo re-education about the new rules, CBS SF reports:

“More than 800 of the sheriff’s roughly 850 deputies and 200 civilian staff have been re-trained in a four-hour course on gender awareness. All new employees will receive the same training, sheriff’s officials said.”

Yet, for all this, there are actually only 13 TGN inmates in jail in San Francisco, KTVU reports:

“As of Wednesday, the San Francisco jail had 13 inmates who identify as transgender or gender variant, according to jail spokeswoman Nancy Crowley.”

“The ‘transgender, gender variant and non-binary,’ or TGN, population comprises less than 1 percent of the total jail population."

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