Rio de Janeiro penitentiaries will allow transgender inmates to choose whether they serve their sentences in male or female prisons, reports say.
Rio’s department of prisons approved the new policy on Friday. The head of the state prison system, Colonel Erir Ribeiro, met the change with open arms.
“It is treatment with dignity. It shows respect for this population,” Ribeiro said.
Theresa Cosentino, the state’s head of social assistance and human rights stated:
“It’s a victory for transsexuals, a population that becomes even more invisible to society in prison. With these pioneering measures in Rio, that is going to change.”
Local LGBT groups such as Rio Without Homophobia have been pushing the policy change since 2001. The change could benefit more than 700 of 43,000 inmates in the state of Rio, .
"This is progress for LGBT rights in the prisons. Over the past 30 years, there have been innumerable recorded cases of discrimination," said Claudio Nascimento, director of Rio Without Homophobia.
Photo: Mario Tama/Getty