The Justice Department is reviewing its policies on housing transgender inmates in the federal prison system after protections for transgender prisoners were rolled back in the Donald Trump administration, reports the Associated Press. The Trump-era manual, which remains in effect, says the agency would assign an inmate to a facility based on identified gender only “in rare cases.” According to a Justice Department official, about 1,200 inmates of the nearly 156,000 federal prisoners in the United States identify as transgender.
The federal Bureau of Prisons’ policies for transgender inmates were thrust into the spotlight this week after Emily Claire Hari, a leader of an Illinois anti-government militia group — who identifies as transgender and was charged, tried and convicted as Michael Hari— was sentenced to 53 years in prison for masterminding the 2017 bombing of a Minnesota mosque. It will now be up to the Bureau of Prisons’ Transgender Executive Council — a group of psychology and correctional officials — to determine where to house Hari in a system of 122 federal prisons. The council must consider an inmate’s health and safety, any potential history of disciplinary action and the security level of the federal prison where the inmate could be assigned.