Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Valerie Jenness (valerie_jenness) on App.net

Transgender Prisoners In America – Valerie Jenness

Transgender Prisoners In America – Valerie Jenness


If you are detained in the United States and taken to prison, one of the questions during the booking process is, “How do you identify?” and whichever sex you claim will determine what cell block you are put in. If the corrections personnel fails to ask this question, then they have not complied with PREArequirements. The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA)requires corrections officials to be PREA qualified; this basically means that unqualified staff members cannot work in corrections again, anywhere in the states.


Some may find it strange that the law requires a response, instead of corrections officer doing a visual confirmation, this is because segregation against transgender prisoners is against the law, and a visual inspection by the prison staff may be discriminatory based on their personal opinions.

Problems Faced By Transgender Prisoners


Transgender prisoners are exposed in US penitentiaries as a result of the general policy of placing them according to their birth-assigned gender, irrespective of their present looks or gender identification. Transgender women with boobs, if locked up with men can leave them exposed to violence and sexual assault. As seen in the case of Dee Farmer, a preoperative transsexual woman with breast implants, who was raped and got HIV/AIDS when she was placed in a men’s jail. Transgender men who are placed in women’s prisons also encounter abuse; frequently more from the guards than other offenders. Ruthless harassment and rejection are frequent types of mistreatment that these prisoners face because they do not conform to conventional expectations.


For their safety, transgender prisoners in jail are occasionally put into administrative segregation or protecting custody. Even Though homosexuality is one of the reasons for placing an inmate in protective custody; some prison guards are homophobic believing that when two inmates have sex, it is consensual. However, this isn’t always the case, and a transgender inmate who may need to be segregated may not get this privilege because the guards do not regard the abuse as actual abuse.


Another issue is that protective and disciplinary detention are frequently the same. This is because the prisoners in protective custody are most times held with the most violent convicts. The custody available can be exceptionally restrictive and remote—sometimes in long-term lock down or solitary confinement—that keeps them from taking part in treatment, training, education and employment schemes. They are also prevented from interacting with other prisoners or receiving visitors, or from taking part in general prison activities like watching television, attending church services, etc.


The level of security that protective custody offers is determined by the facility. Protective custody provides a safe environment that’s free of violence by other prisoners or it can isolate prisoners, and place them with an increased threat of violence by a correctional officer. Although protective custody can provide some degree of protection, the dangerous physical and emotional impacts of isolation make it an unwanted option for a transgender prisoner.


Statistics of Transgender Abuse In Penitentiaries


According to Amnesty InternationalLGBTQ prisoners and even those thought of to be LGBTQ, are prone to cruelty, ill-treatment and violence from other inmates along with penitentiary officials. Amnesty Globalstates numerous examples worldwide where LGBTQ offenders were abused or killed by prison authorities or fellow convicts.


Statistics reveals that 59% oftransgender prisoners in male penitentiaries had been sexually attacked while incarcerated compared to the 4% of their male counterparts. Transgender women in male penitentiaries have to deal with the threat of prostitution by both prison personnel and the male inmates. Forced prostitution can happen when a prison officer places a transgender woman in a male cell for payment, with the intention of being paid after the male inmates have raped her. In some cases, the prison officer will give the woman a percentage of the payment.


What Is Being Done To Increase The Quality of Life on Transgender Prisoners?


The Department of Justice issued new rules defining the guidelines it established in 2012 for howtransgender prisoners should be treated in prisons. The 2012 recommendations required that prison and jail employees take the sex of the prisoner into consideration when determining where to put transgender prisoners, but many penitentiaries continue to follow state principles that delegate offenders housing based on their genitalia. The new DOJ guidelines declare that any allocation based on visual genitalia is a breach of the law.


Several nonprofits have been working tirelessly to see that transgender men and women are imprisoned with dignity. Professor Valerie Jenness is an author, researcher and public advisor whose work in the transgender community has helped advance this law. Valerie Jenness takes a closer look at prison grievances in her book “Appealing to Justice: Prisoner Grievances, Rights, and Carceral Logic.” In the book, she has some open interviews with prison staff and prisoners and walks the reader through the ancient grievance process. Works like this are helping promote awareness forPERA law.


As an outcome from the rise of awareness of the rights of transgender inmates in prisons, several organizations have been established just to support LGBTQinmates incarcerated in the U.S penitentiary system. These organizations tackle the numerous requirements and distinct problems faced by these individuals in the prison system. Some of these organizations also help the family members of these prisoners. This goes to show that even when the government is doing its part, there is still so much that organizations and individuals like Valerie Jenness are doing to help support the transgender community. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Legalized Prostitution & Selling Sex

Prostitution is long thought of as the longest standing profession in the world. It is simply one of the most profitable markets in the world, even though it is also a taboo of modern (and past) society. There are many ethical questions that are presented in prostitution that touch on a number of general morals of the population and this will be explored here. 


Out of 100 countries, there are an astounding amount of countries that have legalized or instituted limited legality of prostitution. According to ProCon.org’s (2016) analysis of legal prostitution, there are 49 countries that have legalized prostitution in some form, 12 countries that have limited legal prostitution and only 39 countries that have completely illegalized prostitution. Now, what this tells the average reader is that many countries have acknowledged prostitution as viable sources of income when both parties are consenting and of legal age in each country.  In many of the countries where selling sex has been made illegal, it has been done in order to prevent sex trafficking and to reduce negative incidents that can be created within the business of prostitution. 

Ethics of Selling Yourself

If one resides in an area where prostitution is legal, and one is considering the idea of selling themselves for quick cash, there are many concepts that should be considered. First up is disease testing (basically on a constant basis) and in some countries, an actual registration of prostitution. Basically, you’re telling your local authority how you’re making your money and that you’re clean enough to perform the job you’re offering. The second thing to consider is how comfortable are you sharing your body with people? Not everyone is comfortable with being flirty and physical with a strange person. 

Finally, and most importantly, safety of the location where you will be performing your services and the agreements between parties. Consent is an absolute must, and in prostitution, consent can be difficult because some customers will not want to take no for an answer since you have a reputation of selling yourself.

Sexually Transmitted Disease Concerns

One of the biggest concerns, separate from sex trafficking, is the spread of sexually transmitted disease (STD’s). Medical care and health maintenance can be expensive or unavailable in some countries and without knowing that you and your paying partner are clean of STD’s , they can be very easily spread and become major issues for the country you reside in. AIDS is still spreading rapidly, as well as herpes and other permanent diseases, and these must be controlled in order to develop a healthy and happy populace. So, if you’re out there earning money with your body, be sure you’re up to date on your testing and use every precaution available to ensure that disease is not being spread.

Overall, there are many aspects that should be inspected when considering this profession, including legality and general safety precautions. However, as sex is a constant need for humanity to meet the needs of contact and intimacy, prostitution is likely to stick around, whether you like it or not.


ProCon.org. (2016, May 18). 100 Countries and Their Prostitution Policies. Retrieved from http://prostitution.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000772

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Valerie Jenness on Transgender Prisoners and Sufferings

In today’s modern society, it is undeniable that discrimination is still existent. From workplaces to public spaces, a lot are still discriminated, especially transgender. This extends all the way to prisons. There is a growing debate as to whether they should be placed in male or female cells. Reports were also abundant emphasizing how many transgender suffer from rape and hate crimes inside the prisons. 
Professor Valerie Jenness is one of the experts who have explored more on this issue. Highlights of her study will be further discussed below. An expert in criminology, law, and sociology, Valerie Jennesshad some interesting findings in her studies. 
Gender Segregation in Prisons 
One of the issues that have been explored by Valerie Jenness deals with how inmates are segregated. Up until now, prisons are segregated based on binary genders — male and female prison cells. There is no dedicated cell for transgender prisons, which is exactly one of the reasons why they are referred to as the “forgotten group”. In one study that involved more than 300 transgender women in prisons, the conclusion was that most of them would prefer to be with men, in spite of being at high risk of assault. According to those that have been interviewed, they put little emphasis in physical protection and for them, affirming their sexual identity is more important. 
The Prevalence of Rape
It has also been pointed out by Professor Valerie Jenness that almost half of the population of transgender prisoners was raped. In some instances as part of the prison culture, some would just simply submit themselves into being raped rather than suffering from physical assault. 
In a study entitled Violence in California Correctional Facilities: An Empirical Examination of Sexual Assault, it has been concluded that 59% of transgender women in men’s prisons were raped. More so, only 4% of men in women prisons suffer from the same fate.
Who Are At Risk
The study of Valerie Jenness with other authors has also explored the characteristics of the victims. More than just being transgender, there are other demographics that will increase the likelihood of suffering from sexual assault in prison. For instance, most of those who have been raped from the sample have mental health conditions and were sentenced for violent crimes. Among non-heterosexual inmates, African Americans are also the ones who are most likely to be victims of rape and other crimes while in prison.
Policy Recommendations
While Valerie Jenness recommends further research on the issue, she also emphasized the need for changes in policy. More than just housing assignments, or the segregation of transgender prisons, she also highlighted the need to address overcrowding in prisons, specifically in California. New policies will prove to be highly significant in improving the life of transgender prisoners.