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Inmates and Incarceration

Trans communities, especially trans people of color, are incarcerated at higher rates than the rest of the population. By challenging the prison status quo, trans people reveal the gender binary as intrinsic to the modern prison and trans issues as central to critical emerging issues of law and policy, public health, and the social sciences. This entry addresses the ways that trans people uniquely experience “the pangs of imprisonment,” the dangers associated with being trans while incarcerated, and the efforts of trans activists to eradicate these harms.

Prisons, which sociologist Erving Goffman called a “total institution,” are by design environments of extreme control and deprivation of liberty. When individuals enter prison, they are strip searched, their belongings are confiscated, and they are given an identification number ...

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