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Friday, April 13, 2012

LAPD to house transgender arrestees in separate section by Sam Quinones

The Los Angeles Police Department will begin housing arrested transgender men and women in a women’s jail by the end of the month, making it what administrators believe is the first police department in the country to do so.
The announcement came Thursday night from Capt. Dave Lindsay, commander of the department’s jail division, speaking to a meeting in Hollywood of transgender people with police Chief Charlie Beck and members of the city’s Police Commission.
The department will open a women’s module at its Metropolitan Detention Center downtown. One of the sections within the module will be reserved for up to 24 transgender people, Lindsay said.
"This is a major change," he said, that will allow for "an environment that’s safe and secure, as there’s been a history of violence against transgender people" in jail.
"We've pushed for this," said Karina Samala, director of the Transgender Working Group, which has been discussing changes in police policy and regulations with LAPD officials since 2007.
City jails are designed for holding people only until they are arraigned in court on the charges for which they were arrested, typically a maximum of three days; then they are transferred to the Los Angeles County Jail, run by the Sheriff’s Department. The changes do not apply to the county jail.
Up to now, transgender men and women arrested by Los Angeles police have been housed in the station closest to where they were arrested. Biological men who identify and dress as women were housed with the male population, leaving them vulnerable to violence.
At the new module downtown, transgender people will have their own area and be able to receive male and female clothing and medical treatment, including hormones, Lindsay said.