San Diego Sheriff to reexamine treatment of transgender inmates
The only document resembling guidelines for handling transgender inmates in local jails was issued by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department more than five years ago. Created under the previous sheriff, Bill Kolender, the two-page training bulletin uses Webster's dictionary to define "transgender" and, in notably sensitive terms, urges deputies to embrace their innate human kindness to preserve an inmate's dignity. "It is believed that transgender individuals have always existed in our societies," the bulletin says. "These individuals are often viewed by their friends and families as the sex they are representing and their expectation is that society views them in the same manner." That was issued in March 2007 in the months after local gay activists raised concerns over the death of a 35-year-old transgender detainee. According to a Gay & Lesbian Times article, the Sheriff's Department agreed to institute sensitivity training. However, in the years since, the sheriff never developed formal policies. This year, the department will once again reconsider how it treats this class of inmates in the wake of new complaints lodged by transgender detainees at the George Bailey Detention Facility.