National Center for Transgender Equality Director of Policy, Harper Jean Tobin, participated yesterday in a panel discussion to mark the release of “A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People with HIV.” This is a groundbreaking report examining the full scope of factors that contribute to disproportionate incarceration of LGBT and HIV-affected people and their abuse behind bars.
With growing bipartisan interest in addressing mass incarceration—for example, the proposed federal Smarter Sentencing Act has the backing of leading liberal lions and key conservative stalwarts alike, and a range of bipartisan reforms are being debated in many states—we hope this report together with NCTE’s recent guide “Standing with LGBT Prisoners: An Advocate’s Guide to Ending Abuse and Combating Imprisonment” will help the LGBT movement play a big role in making big changes.
The report itself focuses on changes the Obama Administration can make right now to address the criminalization of the young, poor, homeless, immigrants, people of color, LGBT people and those with HIV, and end the worst abuses behind bars. While the Obama Administration has made significant announcements in recent months on reforming school discipline, making smarter use of prosecutorial discretion, and expanding federal clemency, there is far more that can be done.
Recommendations in the report range from creating incentives for states to reexamine laws that criminalize homelessness, to addressing anti-LGBT bias in job centers and welfare offices, to ensuring transgender women aren’t automatically placed into men’s jails or men’s homeless shelters. Kudos to the folks at CAP, Streetwise and Safe, and the Columbia Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies!
Watch the panel below: