Trans women deprived of liberty: Invisible stories behind bars
Coordinators: Teresa García Castro, María Santos
Authors: Josefina Alfonsín, Gerardo Contreras Ruvalcaba, Kenya Cuevas, Teresa García Castro, María Santos, Ari Vera Morales
Across the world, trans women have been subjected to discrimination, criminalization, and institutional violence. They often face social exclusion, violations of their human rights, and transphobia. In many cases, these factors lead to them working in highly criminalized informal economies, such as the drug trade, sex work, or sex for survival. As a result, police profile them as being dangerous, making them more vulnerable to police abuse and to being incarcerated. While data is sorely lacking, our research indicates that trans women are overrepresented in prison as compared to other groups, and they are much more likely to suffer abuse and violence behind bars than other populations. In addition to the challenges that incarceration imposes on any person deprived of liberty, trans women face particular challenges with regard to housing, their identification, body searches, access to medical services, privacy, and conjugal visits, among other issues. Despite this situation, trans women who have been deprived of liberty have demonstrated their capacity for agency and created organizations to defend their rights. In countries such as Argentina, Mexico, and Uruguay, groups of trans women are building a social movement based on different types of resistance and the development of political agendas.
Meanwhile, the absence of standards and public policies to protect the rights of trans women deprived of liberty is widespread in Latin American countries. The lack of disaggregated data, efforts to monitor this population’s situation of vulnerability, and related studies have deepened ignorance about these realities and hindered public policy design. Given the dearth of information on this issue, this report explores the framework of rights protection for trans women deprived of liberty, the statistical data available, structural inequalities existing prior to detention, living conditions in contexts of confinement, post-release social reintegration, trans women’s experiences of agency, along with good practices in the region. Furthermore, the report provides public policy recommendations to guarantee the full exercise of this population’s dignity and protection of its human rights.
Organisations: Almas Cautivas A.C, Casa Hogar Paola Buenrostro, Casa de las Muñecas Tiresias A.C., Dejusticia, Equis Justicia para las Mujeres, International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), Procuración Penitenciaria de la Nación de Argentina, Red Corpora en Libertad, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
- Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
- International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)
- EQUIS Justicia para las Mujeres