Just an FYI for family members: keep your eyes open for chances to put in your two cents - like contacting the National Institute of Corrections, who put out this solicitation I stumbled across (below). If you think corrections does a lousy job with our people, tell them what they should be doing better - not just in your prison or state, but as a national standard. We want to be training the trainers - that's called being proactive. We need to be figuring out and sharing with each other just who those entities are, and how to influence them.
We should also be telling them what kind of research to be doing - what are they not getting? As for this particular solicitation, research shows the bias that results in longer or more severe sentences for people who are or are perceived to be LGBTI; prosecutors play on stereotypes and homophobia to get convictions and harsh sentences just like they exploit racism. Then people just keep getting screwed as they go through the system - singled out for assault, exploitation, false accusations, etc. LGBTQ & I prisoners are subject to extraordinarily abusive conditions and treatment (by guards and other prisoners alike). I don't know what the NIC project will actually yield - probably not anything from a radical women of color's collective, but possibly something creative that will make the punishment of all prisoners a little less cruel and unusual.
In any case, don't just wait and see what the profession comes up with - if you have ideas, let them have them: who else is going to speak up? They need all the help they can get to stop the abuse and neglect of prisoners, and there's no reason that their directions shouldn't come straight from the communities most affected by the social and economic injustices in our society that both fuel and feed on the practice of mass incarceration. Otherwise, we leave the running of the criminal justice system to the same people who got us into this mess in the first place, and it'll just keep grinding up our families and communities. If you are blessed enough to have a voice - especially if you have survived the hell of jail or prison yourself - put it to good use.
(Updated) Cooperative Agreement: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Guidance Project
The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) is soliciting proposals from organizations, groups, or individuals to enter into a cooperative agreement for a 12-month project period. Work under this agreement will result in a policy guide for corrections practitioners charged with the care and custody of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) offenders. In addition to providing guidance in selected operational areas (see Goal 2 and Supplementary Information), the guide will provide:
- A brief summary of the relevant case law,
- A description of current terms and definitions relevant to the LGBTI population, including an acknowledgment that these terms evolve and change over time, and
- A list of topics that should be addressed in initial and ongoing staff training.
Informational resources, websites, and sources for additional support should accompany each of these three areas.
DEADLINE: Applications must be received by 4:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 11, 2010.
- Download the Full Solicitation
- Read more about NIC’s Cooperative Agreements
Questions/Responses (posted 5/24/2010)
- What is the time frame for the project?
This will be a twelve month award.
- Can the due date be extended?
Proposals will be due June 11, 2010
- In order to achieve Goal 4, developing and testing the first draft of the guide, would the NIC Research and Evaluation unit assist with accessing corrections personnel, or should we have a clear plan and some type of cooperative agreement in place with corrections personnel at the time of proposal writing?
Applicants should be prepared to meet the project goals as stated. Under a cooperative agreement NIC will work with the awardee to refine their plans for the project.
- Similar to the scope of the PREA Standards, can the policy guide for corrections practitioners charged with the care and custody of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) offenders address those held in adult prisons and jails as well as youth held in juvenile facilities? We believe there is a great need for guidance on this topic for juvenile justice administrators, medical and mental health staff, and training coordinators.
Applicants should include whatever components they feel best address the project goals. NIC welcomes creative suggestions and innovative approaches to the work, within the budget constraints and available funds.
- (Added 6/7/2010) Is there a predetermined start date for the project?
No, the 12 month time frame will begin with the date of the award.