Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and people living with HIV (PLWH) are overrepresented in all aspects of the criminal and juvenile justice systems. The negative effects of this overrepresentation are compounded by mistreatment and violations of basic human rights at every stage along the way. Data from various studies have resulted in some startling figures:
• 73% of LGBT people and PLWH surveyed reported face-to-face contact with police during the five years prior to the survey, and 5% reported having spent time in jail or prison. Only 2.7% of the U.S. adult population has ever been in prison.
• 16% of transgender adults surveyed had been in prison or jail.
• 13-15% of youth in juvenile detention are LGBT.
• 19% of youth in foster care in L.A. Country are LGBT
• 27% of LGBTQ victims of hate violence received hostile treatment from police to whom they reported incidents.
• Transgender women are 6 times more likely to experience physical police violence.
• Transgender women placed in men’s prisons are 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than non-transgender prisoners.
The LGBT/HIV Criminal Justice Working Group (Working Group) is an advocacy coalition of over 30 organizations committed to addressing these grave inequalities and human rights violations. It is the only national LGBT criminal justice coalition and comprises leading experts nationally on criminal justice policy issues facing LGBT people and PLWH, including litigators, researchers, ex-offenders, and racial justice advocates.
The Working Group has engaged with the Justice Department, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and its current focus areas for reform and modernization include corrections, policing, immigration detention, juvenile justice, HIV criminalization, prisoner re-entry, and sex offender registries.