Written and Oral Testimony to the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections, National Center for Transgender Equality, Raffi Freedman-Gurspan (2015)

Testimony Before Legislative and Administrative Bodies

This is the oral and written testimony of Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, a policy advisor at the National Center for Transgender Equality delivered to the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections at a public hearing held on March 11, 2015.

The oral testimony focuses on the over representation of LGBTI inmates and people living with HIV within the prison system. Citing an account from A Roadmap for Change – a report co-authored by The Center for HIV Law and Policy – the testimony emphasizes the risks and consequences transgender women face in prison. It calls on the Bureau of Prisons to develop release plans that address the housing, healthcare, and social services needs of LGBT people and people living with HIV/AIDS, and for community corrections centers to integrate LGBT and HIV issues into their training and programs.

The written testimony contains specific recommendations to reduce the verbal and physical harassment and sexual abuse of LGBTI and HIV positive inmates in prisons, and to ascertain and appropriately address the housing, mental health and family support needs of all inmates. The health recommendations emphasize the urgent need to promote universal sexual health literacy, counseling and access to condoms for all prisoners as well as uninterrupted access to transition and HIV/STI/Hepatitis-related healthcare. 

It further calls on the Bureau of Prison to collect, analyze and utilize data on the harassment, discrimination, housing placements, use of force incidents, grievances, program access, and medical care experiences of prison inmates who are LIBTI and/or living with HIV.