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Advances in Juvenile Justice Reform: LGBTQ Youth in the System

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth in the System: 2011 


  • Louisiana — New Orleans Juvenile Detention Center Sets New Policies to Protect LGBT Youth: The Louisiana Department of Human Services and the New Orleans juvenile detention center—the Youth Study Center (YSC)—introduced a new policy in August of 2011 designed to protect the safety and dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth under their supervision. The policy oversees the protection of LGBT youth already in the custody of the system—estimated at 15 percent, according to national data—and also mandates that direct care staff, supervisors, and social service providers at the detention center undergo training to help create a safer environment for LGBT youth in their care. The policy provides eleven procedural guidelines, including a definition of what qualifies as discrimination, harassment, and abuse of LGBT youth; a prohibition on discriminating or threatening anyone based upon their sexual orientation or gender identity, by both staff and other incarcerated youth; and a prohibition on placing LGBT youth in isolation as a “means of keeping them safe from discrimination.”
  • New York — New York City Issues New Policies to Protect LGBTQ Youth: New York City’s Administration of Children, which has responsibility for providing both juvenile detention and foster care services, issued two new policies in July 2011 to promote a safe and respectful environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their families. The policies—which draw from guidelines issued by New York’s Office of Children and Family Services in 2008—cover LGBTQ identities and language, disclosure, confidentiality, cultural competency training, medical/mental health, bedroom/bathroom arrangements, personal grooming, search issues, and transition/reentry planning.

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Photo: Jason Pier, under Creative Commons License