Homosexuality in Prison

Homosexuality is nothing to be ashamed of; society has generally accepted people who are homosexual. What you do sexually is not your only defining factor, and although I personally feel that it does not fall into what I believe, I accept people who are homosexual. In prison, it can count against you. You might be ridiculed because of that. In this article, I will look at the challenges homosexual prisoners face and how prisoners are abused.

In California, 67% of homosexual prisoners gets assaulted in prison. Sometimes homosexual prisoners get so much abuse from the other inmates that some prisons separate homosexual prisoners from the rest of the prisoners. Some gay prisoners keep their identities in the closet as they are victims of sexual abuse. Homosexual prisoners have the highest cases of clinical depression and chronic dysfunction. It would be expensive for any country to make a prison just for homosexuals, and in some countries, prisons are so overcrowded that they get lost in the system.

In the US transgender, women get locked up with men as you go to prison according to your birth-assigned gender. Dee Farmer was a pre-operative transgender woman who had breast implants. Dee was raped and contracted HIV, she was terribly abused, and the guards were mostly responsible for that.

Italy opened the first transgender prison in Pozzale in 2010. Harris County in Texas adopted the LBGT inmate policy in November 2013. The policy is intended to protect and give equal rights to gay prisoners. They get medical treatment for hormonal therapy; some courts in the United States have ruled that it is necessary for transgender prisoners. Conjugal visits are private for these prisoners and not only can they have visits from family members and friends they can also engage in sexual activity.

Homosexual Conjugal visitation by Country:

Argentina:

Homosexual conjugal visits are granted after a homosexual prisoner was put into solitary confinement. Why? Because he had sex with his visiting partner in his cell. The prisoner had a lawsuit against the prison on the basis that law requires authorities the availability of intimate relations for homosexual prisoners.

Australia:

Conjugal visits are only allowed in the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria. The visit can only happen if the other partner is not incarcerated. Conjugal visits are not authorized in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Belgium:

Men and women are entitled to conjugal visits as heterosexual couples. Belgium prisons have one of the best visitors systems as they allow prisoners once a month to have a visitor in a private room for two uninterrupted hours. In some circumstances that privilege can be revoked.

Brazil:

February 2015 homosexual prisoners and their partners were granted conjugal visits in all of the prisons in Brazil. The National Criminal and Penitentiary Council made the decision where at least once a month a conjugal visit must be granted. The visit cannot affect any disciplinary measures in jail.

Canada:

Private Family Visits are granted for up to 72 hours duration once every two months. It depends on the disciplinary restrictions on the prisoner and if he will be a risk. You can bring food for the prisoner, and you must clean up afterward. After the visit, the wardens in prison will be in contact with the family visitor.

Caribbean Region:

The Caribbean has full control over their prisons and does not allow any conjugal visits at all. The head of corrections and prison service urged them to have conjugal visits; he said it will stop the spreading of HIV and homosexual rape. Up to now, there has been no further decision made on this subject.

Columbia:

Columbian Court ruled on 11th October 2001 in favor of same-sex conjugal visits. Marta Alvarez was the first ever lesbian that had a sexual orientation-related case in October 1999. Marta’s case was presented before the Inter- American Commission of Human Rights. Her argument was that her rights to her personal dignity, integrity, and equality were being violated by not allowing her partner to visit her in prison. She was elated to hear that in 2001 the visits were granted and she and her partner can have lovely visits from now on.

Costa Rica:

The Costa Rican Constitutional Tribunal ruled against homosexual visits in August of 2008. A male prisoner appeals in a lawsuit against the prison so that his partner can visit him. The prison believed that homosexual prisoners have no right to conjugal visits. In recent years the court rejected the ruling and granted conjugal visits to homosexual prisoners.

Israel:

The same rules of the conjugal visits apply to homosexuals and heterosexuals in Israeli prisons. The Association of Civil Right’s in Israel challenged the prisons and court that the same treatment should be given to homosexual prisoners as they are also human, and the policy was the revised and amended in July 2013.

Mexico:

Mexico did not have conjugal visits for homosexuals, but through the efforts of the National Human Right’s Commission, the Mexico prisons started to allow homosexual conjugal visits. The visitor does not have to be married to the prisoner.

Russia:

Russia has conjugal visits for homosexual prisoners. If you are imprisoned in the Kolonija-Poselenie short visits for family and friends can be arranged.  Homosexual prisoners are not allowed to have sex with their partner during visits.

United Kingdom:

Conjugal visits are not allowed at all it does not matter what your sexual orientation. Home visits can be arranged.

United States:

California Department of Corrections ruled for conjugal homosexual visits in June 2007. Under the rules of the visits, the homosexual prisoner must be married to their partner or partners who have not been incarcerated. The partnership or marriage of the homosexual prisoner must have been established before the prisoner was incarcerated. New York started to use the system for conjugal homosexual visits in April 2011.

South Africa:

South Africa has no conjugal visits in any of their prisons, despite a prisoner who launched a campaign to lobby the government to introduce conjugal visits. He started the campaign fifteen years ago and lost in court. It seems like the South African government is standing strong in their beliefs and nobody will change their minds.

Thailand:

Thailand has opened their first transgender prison called Minburi in Bangkok in 2016. It was a victory for homosexual prisoners, and it offers refuge for a vulnerable population. Some people in Bangkok feels that the prison is merely a smokescreen for the real reason the prison was built, they believe the prison was constructed so that the problems caused by homosexuality in prisons can be managed.

Officials say that building a homosexual prison may curb the sexual abuse behind bars. I definitely see their point, and since there is no law against that, it may be the best option for countries to look at. From another angle, it creates lots of work, the people who are going to build the prison and the people who are going to operate and maintain the prison. It is good for a community and country going forward.

Following in the footsteps of Thailand, Turkey is set to open up the world’s first standalone homosexual prison. They called it the pink prison. These countries are not alone, and other countries have tried other methods to separate the gay prisoners from the rest of the prisoners. Countries include Latin America, Europe, and North America.

Is Homosexual Prisons a new thing?

The use of homosexual prisons is not a new concept and goes back to the 1910’s where New York’s Rikers prison, separated the homosexual prisoners from the rest of the population. They believed if they keep the homosexual prisoners apart they will stop the disease of being gay. Years after Rikers Island Penitentiary shut down their gay wing, New York opened a voluntary transgender, gay wing in 2014. The center has been threatened with closure because of legal issues. In the rest of the country, it has been a hard time for homosexuals as their treatment involves solitary confinement which is abuse pure and simple. People that found themselves in prison are there so that they can pay for what they have done; there is no reason to continue to punish them because of deciding that they want to live differently.

In Kentucky, the Department of Corrections has banned mail to homosexuals. They say it promotes homosexuality. Not any of the magazines or letters is of a sexually explicit nature according to the investigations. After the inquiry, the revised mail-censuring policy has taken effect immediately. Homosexual prisoners deserve the same right as any other prisoner. The Corrections Commissioner Rodney Ballard said that as soon as he heard about the policy, he took the necessary steps to correct it. That is the way to go forward and for everyone to have equal rights in prison no matter who you are.

Final Thought:

We have seen some significant changes in countries all over the world regarding homosexuals in prison. There are still a lot of problems in prisons, and it is a daily struggle. We should know better and no matter who, all lives on earth is equal. People should stop treating people bad just because of their sexual orientation and look at who they are as a person instead.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_people_in_prison
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-kentucky-prison-lgbt-idUSKCN0YU2FZ

 

 

 

 

 

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