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DOC responds to Grosso letter on treatment of transgender inmates, educational services for detained students

On February 6, 2018, Councilmember Grosso sent a letter to Department of Corrections Director Quincy Booth, in light of the cancellation of the additional oversight hearing that the Committee on the Judiciary had called and the fact that Councilmember Grosso would be unable to attend the DOC Performance Oversight Hearing. The questions focused on three topics:

  • DOC policies/practices for housing transgender inmates;
  • volunteering at DOC;
  •  and education-related matters.

On March 13, Director Booth sent a response letter that highlighted some areas of concern but also some progress.

In 2017, there were 48 inmates identified as transgender. The housing process seems to be going as contemplated when it was changed around 2008, with two exceptions: transgender inmates are “provided standard jail attire and privileges consistent with the gender of their housing assignment” which is an issue because most transgender women are housed in the men’s unit (based on their own request)—they should get gender-appropriate clothing; and transgender inmates who were on hormone therapy prior to incarceration may be continued—they should be continued barring a medical reason not to, and even if they were not getting it in the community, they should get it in the jail if it's medically appropriate. 

Director Booth also reported out on a Memorandum of Agreement between Department of Correction, D.C. Public Schools, and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, that articulated these agencies respective obligations regarding educational services to students committed to DOC as pretrial detainees and sentenced inmates.  It is based in part on the recommendations by OSSE in its 2016 Letter of Determination regarding state complaints about special education services at DOC.

Both Councilmember Grosso's original letter and DOC's response can be found below.

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