SRLP members, clients, and staff have a long history of speaking before the Board of Corrections (BOC) to bring the voices of trans, gender non-conforming, and intersex (TGNCI) people to the forefront of their work. The Board of Corrections is the oversight and enforcement agency of the NYC Department of Correction (DOC), which is the agency responsible for all of the NYC jails. We have previously rallied around the issue of limitations on visits, the creation of Minimum Standards that mirror the Prison Rape Elimination Act standards and make them specific to the NYC context, and ongoing issues of sexual violence in the NYC jails.
Many visitors to this website may know about the Transgender Housing Unit (THU), one of many options allegedly available to transgender women housed as men in the NYC jails. Throughout 2014, SRLP met with members of the NYC DOC and many local advocacy groups to shape a voluntary housing unit for transgender women and gender non-conforming people held in the men’s jails. This unit is the direct response to many of our members’ and clients’ requests for multiple safer options for housing. Our clients and members made it very clear that transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex people should be given the option to self-determine where they can be most safely housed within the violent structure that is incarceration.
Beginning in August 2015, SRLP has taught classes twice a month in the THU with the LGBT Unit of the New York Legal Assistance Group. Through these classes – and through TGNCI people reaching out to us from the many other NYC jails where THUs are not available – we have been attempting to monitor the treatment of our people in the city jails.
We are currently working to enforce a new resolution from the Board of Correction that requires that the NYC Department of Corrections come into compliance with Minimum Standards for screening and safely housing all individuals – particularly TGNCI people. We will be taking the resolution to our classes at the THU to make sure that residents of the unit know what is supposed to be happening and know how to report any conduct that is disrespectful or any inconsistent practices.
We also ask you to please spread the word to your loved ones who may be in the NYC jails of their right to be housed correctly and their ability to report any non-compliance to the Board. Loved ones can contact the Board by calling 212-669-7900 or filing a complaint online. You can also mail a letter to BOC at 1 Centre Street, Room 2213, New York, NY 10007 or fax them at 212-669-7980. Between 8am-4pm, Monday-Friday, you can also go in person to file at 1 Centre Street, Room 2213 in Manhattan.