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Justice Department evaluating Obama-era protections for transgender inmates

Written by gaytourism


Jeff Sessions’ DoJ is evaluating protections for transgender inmates

A new federal lawsuit indicates Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department is evaluating protections for transgender inmates passed during Obama’s presidency.

The suit was filed in a US District Court in Northern Texas. The plaintiffs are four evangelical Christian women in a Texas prison. In the suit, the plaintiffs allege the Bureau of Prison’s (BOP) ‘placement of transgender inmates in women’s facilities violates their constitutional rights and their rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)’.

They are arguing against guidelines established in 2012’s Prison Rape Elimination Act, which protects transgender inmates from violence.

The plaintiffs are specifically seeking ‘a nationwide injunction to prevent BOP from enforcing its regulation and guidelines’ by blocking any placement of transgender inmates in Federal Medical Center or Federal Prison Center. They are also pushing for a transfer to another institution that does not currently have transgender inmates.

Lawyers for the United States government, however, argued against the women’s request. In the suit, they explain why: ‘Plaintiffs have not met their heavy burden of showing the extraordinary relief of a preliminary injunction is appropriate …  Plaintiffs have not established that they will suffer any imminent harm absent an injunction.’

Furthermore, the transgender inmates are not even in the same housing unit as the plaintiffs.

The suit can be read in its entirety here.

Evaluation of inmates not over yet

District Judge Reed O’Connor is deciding the case. Previously, he blocked guidelines seeking to protect trans students’ right to use their preferred bathroom.

Despite lawyers arguing against the suit, the administration is not defending the policies protecting transgender inmates.

Instead, the Justice Department is leaving that up to the next Bureau of Prisons director. They have yet to be named. They said the director ‘will evaluate the issues in this case and how the challenged regulation and policies apply to Plaintiffs’.

It is unclear then what future evaluations could mean for these policies.

H/t: BuzzFeed News

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