As of Tuesday, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department has formally implemented new policies for inmates at city jails who identify as transgender, gender variant or non-binary, San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy said today.
The new policies and procedures were first announced a year ago while reforms for housing transgender inmates have been underway at San Francisco jails since at least 2015. The new policies were enacted gradually while the sheriff’s staff was trained, according to the sheriff’s department.
The new policies will allow inmates to declare their preferred name and gender identity at intake and to indicate a gender preference for the deputy who will search them.
Sheriff’s deputies have been instructed to address inmates by their preferred gender pronouns and any inmates identifying as transgender, gender variant or non-binary will be moved from a 12-person cell at the main jail to a separate housing pod, where they will have access to classes and services.
More than 800 of the sheriff’s roughly 850 deputies and 200 civilian staff have been re-trained in a four-hour course on gender awareness. All new employees will receive the same training, sheriff’s officials said.
In a statement, Hennessy said:
“Our number one priority is safety for all: staff, inmates, visitors and service providers. We thoughtfully and carefully considered and vetted every policy and procedure, which impacts our TGN inmates to ensure they feel protected, respected and have full access to the County Jail’s educational, vocational, recovery and life skills classes and services.”
The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department is one of the first agencies in the nation to address the needs of transgender, gender variant and non-binary inmates in its jails, according to the sheriff’s department.