What are the rights of LGBT people in prison?

Source: “LGBT Bireylerin Cezaevi Koşullarındaki Hakları Nelerdir?” (“What are the rights of LGBT people in prison?”,) Human Rights Agenda Association, http://sorular.rightsagenda.org/soru-cevap/?g=8 

Human Rights Agenda Association publishes their work for LGBT people on their website. One of these studies explains LGBT rights within the conditions of prisons. We share this article with our readers:

Just like in normal life, LGBT people face discrimination, prejudice, and labeling in prisons as well. Most LGBT people in prison are exposed to attacks by other inmates and the prison staff because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. The measures taken in order to protect them from these attacks often result in their isolation.(1)

The United Nations has developed general principles about the treatment of people in prisons and the conditions of the prisons, as well as a series of protective standards such as the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, UN Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners (Principle 1), UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (Principle 1), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 10), and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading treatment or Punishment (CPT Standards). Although life is never normal in prison, the general principle based on this framework is that prison conditions -apart from the loss of freedom – should be as close to normal living conditions as possible. The punishment consists only of the deprivation of liberty. Conditions of incarceration cannot be used as an additional punishment. All circumstances that imprisonment could cause should be minimized. Therefore, for those in prison, life in prison must be made as close as possible to normal life.(2) In Turkey, the 2nd article of “The Law on the Execution of Penalties and Security Measures” number 5275 interdicts discrimination of  inmates and bans cruel, inhumane, humiliating, and degrading treatment during the execution of the penalty.

No matter how terrible the crime allegedly or actually committed, detained or convicted persons  continue to be human. The judicial authorities sentence them to deprive them of their freedom, not their humanity. Prison staff should never forget that prisoners are human. They must continually resist the tendency to see the prisoner just as a number rather than a whole person. Prison staff do not have the right to give prisoners additional punishments by treating them as second-class citizens without the right to be respected because of the crimes they allegedly or actually committed. Mistreating prisoners is always against the law. Furthermore, this kind of treatment reduces the humanity of the officer who executes it. Detainees or convicts continue to possess all human rights other than the rights they lose as a result of the loss of freedom. Prison authorities and prison staff need to understand the consequences of this principle very clearly. Some aspects are very clear. For example, torture, intentional cruelty, inhuman, and degrading treatment is strictly prohibited. This prohibition does not only ban physical and mental harm to prisoners. It also includes all the conditions in which the prisoners live.(3)

According to the 9th principle of Yogyakarta Principles, all persons deprived of their liberty have the right to humane treatment and to be respected in accordance with innate human dignity. Sexual orientation and social gender identity are an integral part of human dignity. Therefore, States need to guarantee that the restriction of freedom does not bring about further marginalization of people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, or bring forth violence, ill-treatment, physical, mental or sexual abuse to these people. Additionally, states – to the extent possible- should guarantee the participation of prisoners in the decision process concerning the selection of the place of detention appropriate to their sexual orientation and gender identity.

1-  Crimes of Hate, Conspiracy of Silence: Torture and Ill-treatment based on Sexual Identity, Amnesty International. Available on the website http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ACT40/016/2001/en/cd954618-d961-11dd-a057-592cb671dd8b/act400162001ar.pdf. Last accessed 28/12/2008; No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons, Human Rights Watch, available on the website http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/2001/prison/report4.html. Last accessed 28/12/2008. LGBT people in prison, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, available on the website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_people_in_prison. Last accessed 28/12/2008

2- For more information see Render Standards Functional, an international handbook on good practices in prisons, Translated Orhan Kemal Cengiz, International Penalty Reform, 200, p.3

3- Approach to Prison Management Considering  the Human Rights, A toolkit for prison officers, Andrew Coyle, International Centre of Prison Studies, © Andrew Coyle, 2002, p.31

Related Translations:

To be an LGBT inmate in Turkey

Homophobia is both “inside” and “outside”

If you are a homosexual in prison, there is both punishment and beating

 Ministry of Justice on LGBT Inmates in Turkey

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