New York City’s Department of Correction announced plans to open a special housing unit on Rikers Island—the city’s main prison complex—for transgender prisoners. A total of 30 beds will occupy the ward, while officials expect to house up to 35 transgender (those born male, but identify as female) at once. “Because inmates are not all alike, the department is creating specialized housing for many specific inmate groups,” Department of Correction Commissioner Joe Ponte said. “Just as adolescents, young adults, and mentally ill inmates have special needs, so do men who identify as women.” The special housing area will be designed to offer a “safe and respectful separation from the general population along with access to medical and mental health care.” Access to the separate unit is optional.
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