No Pride for Prisons, the organisation set up initially as an opposition to the inclusion of uniformed police and corrections officers in the Pride parade, has just released their manifesto for the dissolution of the prison system in New Zealand. Although the total abolishment of the current judicial system is rather extreme, and is made to ruffle a few feathers, it provides some good points in regards to the treatment of LGBT+ prisoners. Here’s a summary of recommendations that we found rather compelling.
More access to condoms and PrEP
As the manifesto points out, sex between incarcerated people is inevitable, and the current system of obtaining condoms through the Health Centre creates more of a stigma surrounding the ability to have sex, let alone safe sex. In addition to this, as the proportion of HIV-positive people is higher in prisons, they recommend better access to PrEP to better protect those who are HIV-negative – though it should be noted that PrEP is still currently unfunded by Pharmac to the general New Zealand public, and costs roughly $1,200 a month.
The ability for trans prisoners to choose which prison to go to.
As highlighted in the past few months of mistreatment of trans prisoners in New Zealand, let alone overseas, the choice of which prison to go to not only affects a trans prisoner’s mental health, but also physical health as well. Although they are technically able to make the switch over to their desired prison currently, the present process is arduous and thus, not all that effective. The fact that this is presented as a choice reflects the decisions of some transwomen prisoners to remain in male prisons currently.
Access to quality hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Changes to policies have meant that HRT is now part of the standard medical care that prisoners receive. However, Pride in Prisons has decided to put this as a demand as the process to obtain it is still unnecessarily convoluted.
Ability to wear undergarments, clothing and make-up of their choosing
There is currently an inconsistency in the clothing and items available to female and male prisons: items such as emery boards, tweezers and facial washes are only accessible in women’s prisons. As they put it, “the Department of Corrections must acknowledge the importance of gender-affirming practices and presentations, such as dress and personal grooming, and must act to ensure that all incarcerated people have access to the items necessary to perform them.”