Transgender prisoners in Hong Kong given a secure, safe environment

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 February, 2017, 4:09pm
UPDATED : Monday, 20 February, 2017, 11:28pm

I refer to the article by Grenville Cross (“HK’s transgender prisoners deserve respect and support”, February 16) regarding the treatment of transgender prisoners in correctional facilities and wish to provide some information on the treatment of transgender persons in custody (PICs) by the Correctional Services Department.

The department provides a secure, safe, humane, decent and healthy custodial environment for these people. It will not discriminate against them or treat them differently because of their race, colour, gender, language, religion, political views or other opinions, ethnic or social hierarchy, wealth, background or other identities. Under normal circumstances, the department identifies the gender of PICs according to their identification documents. Treatment, including accommodation, will be arranged in accordance with their identified gender. In general, transgender people in custody will be accommodated in the Vulnerable Prisoners Unit of Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre and are entitled to the same rights and treatment as any others in custody. The unit’s purpose is to ensure fair treatment in compliance with the law in a way that is safe for transgender persons in custody and others.

Notwithstanding, those with special needs or requests other than the general treatment and not consistent with their legally recognised gender will be assessed and considered according to individual merits and expertise of a medical officer, clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. Moreover, Department of Health medical officers and correctional staff with nursing qualifications provide basic medical care to PICs round the clock. Any transgender PICs needing specialist consultation will be referred to specialist clinics or public hospitals for a decision on further treatment, including hormone treatment.

All transgender people in custody can enjoy the same range of health care services as members of the public in Hong Kong.

Diana Kam, for commissioner of correctional services