The Department of Corrections is planning to move self-classified lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) prisoners to their own facility for their own safety.
Under the current system, convicted transgender women are placed in male prisons, since they are assigned by the name and sex recorded on their ID cards. However, many of them fear sexual or physical abuse by cis male prisoners.
At a meeting yesterday at Pattaya Remand Prison, Kobkiat Kasiwiwat, Permanent Deputy Secretary for Justice, said that LGBT inmates would be housed in their own prison to keep them safe from abuse by non-LGBT prisoners. The meeting was also attended by Thai and foreign human rights activists, representatives from the Office of the Ombudsman, and officials from the Justice Ministry.
Kobkiat noted that human rights groups had asked the Justice Ministry to separate the prisoners and that they are considering using Minburi Prison as an LGBT facility.
At present, there are 4,448 inmates who self-identify as LGBT: 2,258 females, 2,156 males and 34 transgender people, according to numbers presented by the Department of Corrections. This is about 1 percent of of the total population of 300,000 inmates in Thai prisons, reported Bangkok Post.
At the meeting, Chartpon Arphasut, chief of Pattaya Remand Prison, said that LGBT prisoners may be more likely to be sexually abused.
He noted that, currently, transgender inmates and housed separately from cis male inmates at Pattaya Remand Prison, but he also said they they are still often abused by cis male inmates because they work together during the day.
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