LGBTQ people (or those perceived as belonging to this group) are particularly vulnerable and at risk of human rights violations and abuses by fellow detainees and officials across the entire criminal justice system. LGBTQ persons are afforded little protection, particularly in the 70 countries which criminalise consensual same-sex sexual acts.
Globally, lesbian, gay and bisexual detainees represent a small percentage of prison populations, and transgender and intersex people in detention are even fewer in number in most contexts. This small percentage may contribute to the neglect this group faces in detention regarding their protection and specific needs.
During interrogations, police officers may threaten to reveal a person’s sexual orientation to friends, family or colleagues to obtain a confession. LGBTQ people in prison are often threatened with, or become victims of physical and sexual violence both from staff and other people in prison. They may be held together in poorer conditions than the rest of the prison population, or they may be isolated on the grounds of protection, sometimes for years at a time. Trans and intersex detainees may be refused gender-appropriate healthcare or even face ill-treatment by health professionals.
As part of our 2020-2023 strategy we will work towards ensuring better protection for LGBTQ people in prison. This will not only involve raising awareness on human rights issues faced by LGBTQ people in prisons, but also consider the needs of LGBTQ people in our work more widely. For example, through addressing the harmful effects of solitary confinement, lack of access to healthcare staff and wider rehabilitation programmes. We will also address high rates of violence towards LGBTQ people in prison through raising the awareness of prison staff and other criminal justice actors.
Poor or socially excluded populations