Data on Transgender Prisoners Will Be Included in Next Prison Statistics Report, Centre Says
In Delhi High Court Monday, the Centre agreed to include transgender as a separate gender in the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) Prison Statistics Report, in response to a petition advocating for the change, filed by legal journalist Karan Tripathi.
Trans inclusion in the Prison Statistic Report is an important step forward in ensuring that transgender individuals have their civil, constitutional, and human rights respected within the Indian prison system, activists say. Tripathi’s petition states that this information must be publicly available to check the harassment trans individuals suffer in Indian prisons. The petition also argues not recording this information would be in violation of Articles 14, 15 (regarding the equality of all citizens), Article 19 (freedom of speech), and Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the Indian Constitution.
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Previously, a Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) report found that 214 trans individuals were imprisoned in India between 2018 and 2019. Out of 28 states and eight union territories, only nine regions had recorded transgender individuals as transgender. Plus, the report also details the severe vulnerabilities of trans individuals in prison — misgendering, bullying, assault, abuse, and lack of medical attention. The report stresses the importance of adequate awareness and training among prison authorities to combat the human rights abuses that transgender individuals often undergo in Indian prisons.
As of now, NCRB officials have been directed to prepare for data collection accordingly; the next Prison Statistics Report is due in 2021 for the year 2020. Apart from this, the central government also states it will conduct sensitization and training sessions to prison staff across India in order to “manage the carceral experience of trans persons,” says Tripathi on Twitter.