Cisnormativity, criminalisation, vulnerability: Transgender people in prisons
Rodgers, J and Asquith, NL and Dwyer, A, Cisnormativity, criminalisation, vulnerability: Transgender people in prisons, Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies Briefing Paper, 12 pp. 1-13. ISSN 1832-701X (2017) [Refereed Article]
International research identifies transgender people as a particularly vulnerable group in the prison system, with their most basic needs often being denied to them (Grant et al. 2011, 158). Transgender prisoners experience higher rates of sexual assault and rape (Broadus 2008–9; Jenness et al. 2007). Yet, there is little empirical Australian research (Simpson et al., 2013). Drawing on a conceptual framework of cisnormativity, this article examines existing research about these policies, procedures, and practices regarding the treatment of transgender people in prisons and argues that carceral settings both pathologise and criminalise transgender inmates through incarceration practices that aim to address and reduce their vulnerability. We additionally demonstrate this argument through analysis of policies regarding the treatment of transgender prisoners. By examining how cisnormativity affects transgender prisoners, this briefing paper seeks to move beyond strategies that respond to vulnerability and towards approaches that prevent its replication.