Press Release – Green Party
The Minister of Corrections needs to take urgent action to protect transgender prisoners from violence while in the care of the state, the Green Party said today.5 July 2013
Trans prisoners deserve safety
The Minister of Corrections needs to take urgent action to protect transgender prisoners from violence while in the care of the state, the Green Party said today.
A damning report from the Equal Justice Project into transgender prisoners’ rights concluded that the current policies of the New Zealand Department of Corrections are discriminatory and place transgender prisoners at risk of sexual assault and rape.
“When we lock someone in prison, we have an obligation to ensure that they are safe, not put them at risk of sexual assault and rape,” said Green Party rainbow spokesperson Jan Logie.
“The Ombudsman released a report on this issue in February 2012. That’s almost 18 months ago, and yet every day transgendered prisoners are living at huge risk of violence all while under the care of our Government.
“I have brought this issue up with Corrections Minister Anne Tolley repeatedly and she has shifted from denying there is a problem to saying the Government is reviewing the policy, but the state’s duty of care really requires more urgent action when trans prisoner’s protection from abuse is at stake.
“This report gives us more information, and it shows that our concerns are founded. We need urgent action to protect transgender prisoners.
“Transgendered women don’t deserve to be put at risk of sexual assault while under our care just because their anatomy doesn’t match their gender.
“The Minister has claimed that the issue is complicated, and it is, but we aren’t talking huge numbers of people here. We are talking about a few people who have been put absolutely at huge risk because of this Government’s lack of will to protect them.
“I welcome the Minister’s change of heart but we need action now.”