Criminal Justice System & Prisons

LGBT and HIV-positive individuals often experience unique difficulties when dealing with the criminal justice system. At best, the system is poorly designed to accommodate and serve the needs of GLAD’s community. At worst, it is overtly and deliberately hostile.

Antiquated anti-gay “sodomy” laws have been struck down, but other criminal laws related to sex—statutes that may be neutral on their face—are often enforced in a discriminatory way against gay men. In prison, LGBT individuals are frequently targeted for mistreatment and physical or sexual attacks. Prison officials may participate in such abuse, turn their backs on it, or lack institutional tools to adequately protect LGBT inmates. Transgender inmates and people with HIV may face additional difficulties gaining access to appropriate medical treatment.

GLAD’s Work On This Issue

Criminal law can be bewilderingly complex and stressful. Though this area is not the primary focus of GLAD's work, it can affect LGBT and HIV-positive people in dramatic ways. Because of this, GLAD makes every effort to provide people with resources and connections with experts in the field.

From the Docket

Settled • 2011

Adams v. Bureau of Prisons

Update: September 30, 2011

A settlement was announced September 30, 2011 in the case of Vanessa Adams, a Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inmate at… More →

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Legislative Advocacy

March 16, 2010

Phone Bank to Support CORI Reform

Show your support for CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) Reform Legislation by contacting George Lee at {encode=""… More →

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Related News

March 16, 2015

Advocates Ask Supreme Court to Hear Case Concerning Medical Care for Transgender Woman in Prison

Petition Asserts First Circuit Disregarded its Proper Role

Lawyers today petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal on behalf of Michelle… More →

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