A county jail in Texas has adopted a new jail policy based on inmates' sexual orientation.
The Harris County jail in Houston is adopting a wide-ranging policy intended to ensure that homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered inmates are protected and don't face harassment
Cathie Adams, with Texas Eagle Forum, says Houston is being influenced by its mayor, Annise D. Parker, an open lesbian. The city needs a better role model, she says.
"Not a person who is going to leave them more vulnerable to abuse," says Adams. "And I'm very sorry to say, I think that is exactly what this policy will do, not just in the prison but of course it will eke into the community and set up a very tragic situation."
The Associated Press reported that the Harris County jail is the third-largest in the United States – about 8,900 inmates of which approximately 250 identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Those inmates will wear an identification bracelet, the story notes.
The policy also suggests that transgendered people can choose between male and female sections of the prison.
Adams calls that allowance "tragic," noting that a "man is born as a man."
Jailers must address the transgendered by their "chosen name" and include it on the bracelet, the AP also reported.
The mental health field has an excellent track record in treating transgendered people to conform to their biological gender. So Adams wonders why, if Houston wants to help jail inmates, they don't offer counseling instead of affirming their gender confusion.
Jailers fall under a "zero tolerance" rule for sexual misconduct or harassment toward LGBT inmates, which could include firing and criminal charges. It was unclear from The Associated Press story if those rules only apply to homosexuals.
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