Prairieland "is the first to include a unit built specifically to house transgender detainees," Groetzinger writes. "According to ICE officials, the construction of a transgender unit in Texas is meant to improve conditions for transgender detainees. Transgender activists and advocates say it represents an expansion of an abusive system that can’t protect transgender individuals’ safety and rights. Prior to last year, the government had no protocol for handling transgender detainees, according to Flor Bermudez, a director at the Transgender Law Center."
"In June 2015, ICE released a memorandum addressing the treatment of transgender detainees, instructing detention centers to adopt new provisions governing everything from strip searches, clothing options, and medical care to housing assignments. The ICE unit at the Santa Ana City Jail agreed to implement the memo’s provisions on June 1, 2016, according to ICE officials, and the Prairieland Detention Center has also pledged to adopt the provisions upon opening in November. This does not guarantee better treatment, according to Adam Frankel, one of the researchers who helped compile the Human Rights Watch report on Santa Ana." (Read more)