Legal Aid Society


Report: TGNCNBI People Face Crisis in New York City Jails

Today, the New York City Council’s Task Force on Issues Facing Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, Non-Binary, and Intersex (TGNCNBI) People in Custody released its long-awaited report on the crisis facing TGNCNBI people in New York City jails, as reported by THE CITY/WNYC/Gothamist.

The report’s findings reveal a jail system that renders these individuals invisible, and therefore extremely vulnerable to the worst harms of arrest, incarceration, abuse, and neglect. It recommends the following broad actions:

  1. The City and State must release people and decarcerate the jails, including TGNCNBI people;
  2. The City and State must provide accessible and affordable housing to all people released from custody, with a focus on TGNCNBI people and their needs, where people have both the dignity of personal space and the necessary assistance of case management, such as referrals to mental health care, medical care, and assistance in accessing basic needs to survive;
  3. The City and State must ensure that adequate funding for community-based organizations that run alternative to incarceration or diversionary programs, mental and medical health care and other services is are provided for in each budget; and
  4. All officials and employees must treat people who remain in custody humanely and respectfully, and ensure that they have access to health, housing, and other care while detained or incarcerated. These services must be – at minimum – at the same level as what a person would receive when out in the community.

“The report and its findings should alarm all New Yorkers,” said Mik Kinkead, a staff attorney with the LGBTQ+ Law and Policy Unit at The Legal Aid Society, and a member of the Task Force. “There is a clear pattern and practice of discrimination against TGNCNBI people.”

“Our clients feel this on the ground when they are denied correct housing or deprived of basic respect, safety and dignity, but this is system-wide and we see it in the lack of transparent directives, the lack of DOC engagement on the Task Force, and the lack of acknowledgment from DOC officials when we alert them that our clients are being harmed,” he continued. “This report makes clear that the City is wholly incapable of caring for the TGNCNBI New Yorkers in its charge, and we call on City Hall, prosecutors, elected officials, and other stakeholders in government to work with us to immediately facilitate the decarceration of this community from Rikers Island and other area facilities.”