Prisons and Policing

Police profile and target transgender people, and particularly Black and brown transgender women, for harassment, arrest, and imprisonment.

Prisons and jails routinely subject transgender people in their care to abusive conditions, including denial of medical care, extended periods of solitary confinement, and harassment, sexual assault, and violence at the hands of guards and other people with whom they are incarcerated. Recent studies show that transgender women are 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted in prison than others.

In 2015, Transgender Law Center launched new programming committed to reducing the harms caused by prisons and jails and moving towards dismantling the deeply flawed prison system. Since then, we have represented trans people in prisons and immigration detention in numerous impact litigation cases and responded to thousands of letters from incarcerated trans people with legal information to equip them in advocating for themselves. Incarcerated people can request resources from us directly by writing to PO Box 70976, Oakland, CA 94612.

The resources we can provide include 1) policies issued by specific state DOCs and the federal BOP, 2) guides to navigating grievance processes and filing lawsuits, 3) know-your-rights guides for transgender and LGBT people, 4) model policies developed by LGBT advocacy organizations, 5) statements from medical professional associations on the necessity of transition-related health care, 6) medical information about transition-related health care, 7) case law from previous lawsuits filed by transgender people in prison, 8) reentry resources, and 9) resource lists of other organizations.

Tlc Resources


An illustrated fist raised in the air, with text, "Repo

Reporting Law Enforcement Abuse: A Guide for Transgender People

A colorized red fist raised in the air with graphic decorations, as well as cameras

Transgender People and Law Enforcement Interactions: Rights and Realities

Advocating for Yourself While in Custody in California

Guide to Legally Changing Your Name and Gender While Incarcerated in CA

Other Resources


Transgender Gender-Variant & and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP)
An organization of transgender people inside and out of prison working together for survival and freedom.

Black & Pink
An open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other. Their work toward the abolition of the prison industrial complex is rooted in the experience of currently and formerly incarcerated people.

Just Detention International
JDI seeks to end all forms of sexual violence against those who are incarcerated. They have a Survivor Resource Guide for those who have been raped or sexual assaulted in prison.

Justice Now
Advocacy, organizing, and legal services for people housed in women’s prisons.

State Prison Policies
Transgender Law Center has collected policies related to the treatment of incarcerated transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) people from every state prison system in the US. These policies address everything from placement, to access to transition-related healthcare and gender-affirming clothing and property, to sexual violence prevention and response, to grievance procedures. Access to these policies can be critical in holding prisons accountable for the ways in which they regularly abuse and neglect the TGNC people in their custody. This spreadsheet is organized so that each state is a row and each type of policy is a column. To find a particular policy, simply locate the cell for the state and type of policy you are interested in and click the link to view and download the policy. Most of the policies are listed by their policy number, but in some cases, we have multiple policies from a state that fall under one policy type: in these cases, click “Folder” and you will be able to access all the relevant policies in one folder. Please note that these policies are accurate to the best of our knowledge. If you have access to additional resources you think would be helpful to add to this spreadsheet, please email Ian Anderson, TLC’s Legal Services Project Manager, at”

In The News

LGBTQ Legal Rights Organizations Move to Protect California’s Trans-Inclusive Incarceration Policy

Lambda Legal, the Transgender Law Center (TLC), and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed by anti-transgender activists against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) challenging SB132, the groundbreaking law protecting transgender people incarcerated in the state of California.