In New York, the health and safety of inmates, as well as workers in prisons, has been a major topic of conversation among policymakers. This is especially true for the most vulnerable populations in prison, such as the trans and gender-nonconforming community (TGNC).
TGNC issues in prison
Prisoners often have problems with reduced access to and quality of health care for inmates. That problem is exacerbated with the TGNC community, whose members require additional support both mental and physical. Advocacy groups have consistently warned that there is a lack of counselors in prisons and jails equipped to handle a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, for example. It is also very difficult for prisoners to maintain their access to hormone-replacement treatment in prison, which can be a serious threat to their health. Whether it is a lack of supplies or a lack of training for prison staff, the facilities are not suited to the range of care that TGNC individuals need.
Prisoners’ rights are just as important as other person’s, and having the right resources and support to meet those rights is a human rights issue. The needs of prisoners often go neglected because they are hidden away in the prison system and not given the opportunity to complain or speak out. However, being in prison is not a blanket opportunity for other people to violate their rights.
Prisoners in the TGNC community have needs that the prison system often fails to meet. However, they have the same rights to access health care as any other prisoner, so any violations of those rights constitute an unlawful act that can lead to legal action.