November 06, 2015 - 1:38 PM
KAMLOOPS - For the first time under new protocol B.C. Corrections has transferred an inmate, who identifies as female, from the all-male Kamloops jail to the Alouette Correctional Centre for women in Maple Ridge.
Bianca Sawyer, who identifies as female, was an inmate at the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre and wanted to be transferred to a female facility after feeling threatened by fellow inmates, according to a Georgia Straight report.
Under her birth name, Jaris Lovado, Sawyer was sentenced on July 30 to nine months in jail after pleading guilty to committing several offences across B.C. including possession of stolen property and fraud.
"B.C. Corrections is committed to respecting the rights of transgender inmates and, to this end, considers how they self-identify when making placement decisions," Corrections spokesperson Cindy Rose says in a statement. "This is consistent with the efforts of B.C. Corrections staff to model behaviour for offenders that is respectful and promotes pro-social attitudes and behaviour.”
"We are in the process of finalizing the new policy, with correctional officers and other front-line staff now receiving related training from qualified, community-based organizations to ensure staff have an understanding of gender identity and expression of transgender inmates," she says.
The previous policy, according to the Ministry of Justice, placed inmates based on physical sexual attributes rather than gender identification. While the new policy is yet to be finalized, Sawyer was relocated in the interim.
"We’ll act professionally with any type of internal movement based on the policy the branch comes out with. We’ll be agreeable to any necessary training required,” chair of corrections and sheriffs services component of the B.C. Government and Service Employee’s Union Dean Purdy says.
B.C. is the second province to create a new protocol for transgendered inmates. Administrators for Ontario Corrections developed its policy in January, 2015.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015