CHICAGO (CBS) – The Cook County Jail is now housing transgender inmates based on their gender identity, rather than their sex at birth.
County Sheriff Tom Dart told the Windy City Times the change is coming because “medical and sociological” concerns outweigh even security issues when it comes to transgender detainees.
The policy requires transgender detainees to be permitted to consult with a “Gender Identity Panel” composed of therapists and doctors before the decision is made to place the detainees into male or female wings of the jail, the Windy City Times reported.
Correctional officers would also be required to permit transgender people to wear clothes and use hygiene products consistent with their gender identity, the newspaper reported.
The policy went into effect March 21, the newspaper reported. The Cook County Jail is believed to be the only facility with this type of policy.
The prior policy on transgender inmates dates back to 1984, but only addressed recommendations to jail doctors for inmates who required hormones. It did not go into housing, apparel, or female-to-male transgender people, the newspaper reported.