February 3, 2022

USA: All Federal Prisons Were Placed On Lockdown After A Gang Fight Left Two Inmates Dead. US Bureau Of Prisons Recommends Inmate Receive Historic Male To Female Gender-Reassignment Surgery

BBC News
written by Staff
Tuesday February 1, 2022

All federal prisons in the US have been placed on lockdown after a gang fight left two inmates dead at a facility in Texas.

Two other prisoners were seriously hurt in the violence at the high security Beaumont facility on Monday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) said.

The bureau said it was responding with "an abundance of caution", adding that the lockdown was a temporary measure.

It is rare for such a measure to apply to the entire federal prison system.

Most of America's prisoners are held in facilities run by the individual state as opposed to the federal government.

The BOP has 134 facilities housing more than 150,000 inmates around the US, according to the latest information on its website.

When prisons are placed on lockdown, it typically involves inmates being confined to their cells with restrictions placed on visitor access.

In a statement, the bureau said that for "safety and security reasons" it would not provide further details on its decision, adding only that it believed the measure would be "short-lived".

The violence at the Beaumont facility in Texas, which has a prison population of 1,372, reportedly involved members of the MS-13 street gang - a brutal group established in Los Angeles which has roots in El Salvador.

The fight raised concerns of retaliatory violence that threatened to spread to other prisons, the Associated Press reports, citing sources briefed on the bureau's decision.

The two inmates who died were named as Guillermo Riojas, a 54-year-old who had been sentenced for violent crimes using a firearm, and Andrew Pineda, 34, who was said to be a member of a gang known as the Mexican Mafia.

No staff members at Beaumont were injured during Monday's fight, the BOP said.

The Mexican Mafia is believed to have up to 300 members in the prison system. According to the FBI, the gang comprises current and former convicts who hold positions of power within facilities and offer protection and deal in drugs.

The gang MS-13, which was formed by immigrants who had fled El Salvador's long and brutal civil war, has a reputation for extreme violence.

The FBI estimates that the group has up to 10,000 members in the US, making it one of the largest criminal enterprises in the country.

🚨👇BONUS related news 👇🚨
The Hill
written by Brad Dress
Thursday February 3, 2022

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons could still approve a Texas inmate's request to become the first to undergo a gender-affirming surgery while in federal custody, according to documents obtained by The Hill.

The Bureau's Transgender Executive Council (TEC) recommended 47-year-old Cristina Iglesias receive the sex reassignment surgery, according to documents submitted on Monday in the U.S. District Court in Southern Illinois. The Department of Justice and U.S. attorneys further wrote that if certain conditions are met, including good behavior, it would refer Iglesias to a surgeon one month after the inmate transitions to another facility in March.

"Thus, assuming she does not engage in behavior that would prevent her from continued placement in a female facility and assuming further that no other reasons develop that would make gender confirmation surgery inappropriate, the TEC does expect plaintiff to be referred to a surgeon at the appropriate time," the documents read.

The move comes as a surprise given that last week, the TEC failed to meet a court deadline requiring notice of approval, leading Iglesias and her legal team to assume it was denying the surgery.

But the recommendation does come with conditions. The Bureau will only approve the surgery after Iglesias transitions to a halfway house in Florida in the spring. Court documents also argue Iglesias should continue to be monitored before approval, citing the inmate has "demonstrated significant difficulty adjusting to living with women in a correctional setting."

Edwin Yohnka, the director of communications and public policy at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois, which is representing Iglesias, said the team will be meeting with their client in the coming days to discuss the TEC's conditions.

'I think it's important that they recognized the need for Cristina to have surgery," he said."But continued, additional delay I think raises concerns."

Iglesias is a male by birth who has been held in prison since 1994 on terrorism charges. In May, Iglesias was transferred to the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, a women's facility, as one of the first federal inmates to be reassigned to another facility based on gender identity.

Iglesias has been suing the Bureau since 2016, arguing the surgery is as pertinent as any other medical procedure a federal prisoner would receive while in custody.

Yohnka said although Iglesias's sentence concludes at the end of the year, it was important she receive the surgery while in federal custody.

"The idea that the clock would run out just doesn't seem satisfactory," he said. "We wouldn't do that with any other healthcare, we wouldn't say — 'Don't get X procedure,' even though it was necessary and needed — simply because you are going to be out in a year."
written by Brooke Migdon
Wednesday January 26, 2022

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) this month quietly updated its policy on housing transgender inmates, removing language inserted under the Trump administration that weakened protections for trans individuals in federal custody.

The revised Transgender Offender Manual, released Jan. 13 by the BOP, rescinds the manual’s 2018 update, which, among other changes, replaced Obama-era guidelines recommending incarcerated individuals be housed based on gender identity with a mandate that inmates be housed based on “biological sex.”

The updated manual removes that requirement, meaning housing designations are no longer based solely on an individual’s anatomy. In making housing unit and programming assignments, a transgender or intersex inmate’s own views with respect to their safety must be given “serious consideration,” according to the manual.

The new guidelines also require BOP staff to use an inmate’s preferred pronouns, stating that “deliberately and repeatedly mis-gendering an inmate is not permitted,” and a process has been added by which an incarcerated individual may receive gender-affirming surgery.

Transgender inmates will also be given the opportunity to shower separately from other inmates when individual shower stalls are not available, according to the manual.

The updated manual “will hopefully help keep transgender people in its custody safe and provide access to life-saving healthcare including gender-affirming surgery,” Richard Saenz, a senior attorney at Lambda Legal, said Tuesday in a statement.

“This reaffirms the constitutional rights of incarcerated transgender people and should be an example for state prisons systems and local jails to do their duty to keep people in their custody safe,” he said.

The revised manual also requires BOP staff to complete a training program where they will be taught how to provide better treatment for trans inmates. The program will also enhance staff understanding of the increased risk of suicide, mental health issues and victimization of incarcerated trans people.

Incarcerated transgender people are nearly 10 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than the general prison population, according to a 2018 report by the National Center for Transgender Equality.

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