LGBTI persons in detention

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people are exposed to violations of their rights at all levels of the criminal justice system - upon arrest as well as after their release. The risks of stigmatisation and abuse are even more pronounced in countries where sexual orientation and/or non- traditional expressions of gender identity are criminalised.

The fact that LGBTI persons represent a minority of the prison population contributes to a situation where their protection and specific needs are often neglected or overlooked. It is therefore important that the authorities put in place preventive measures, such as a careful selection of prisoners sharing the same cell. On the other hand, solitary confinement of LGBTI persons should never be systematic, but only with the consent of the person concerned and for a limited duration, without compromising access to services to which the person is entitled.

Transgender people face specific problems, especially regarding the location of their placement in prison or in a special wing of the institution. In most cases, they are automatically placed solely on the basis of their biological gender, without any particular consideration for their perception of gender or the gender reassignment procedures they may have undergone prior to their imprisonment. Given the high risk of abuse faced by transgender people, placement decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis, with the consent of the person concerned.

Jean-Jacques Gautier NPM Symposium 2015: Addressing vulnerabilities of LGBT persons

Torture and ill-treatment of LGBTI persons - side event during 31st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

APT resources

In 2013, the APT published, jointly with Penal Reform International, a paper on this issue: "LGBTI persons deprived of their liberty: a framework for preventive monitoring".

See also our Detention Focus database, which includes guidance for detention monitors and standards related to LGBTI persons deprived of liberty.