January 20, 2010

Italy to open first all-transgender prison

Italy is on the forefront of prison reform, with the world's first transgender prison set to open at Pozzale in picturesque Tuscany.

The prison, being converted from an almost-empty women's prison, will house about 30 of Italy's 60 transgender prisoners, according to a BBC report.

Psychologists will play a prominent role at the prison, according to the report.

Where and how to house transgender prisoners is a major policy dilemma for prison officials around the world. Abuse is common, and -- especially in men's prisons -- they are generally kept in protective segregation.

Prison Photography blog offers Haiti coverage

I learned of the new prison via a post at an intriguing blog called "Prison Photography: The Practice of Photography in Sites of Incarceration." That blog also offers top notch, up-to-the-minute coverage of the earthquake aftermath in Haiti, including news surrounding the escape of Haiti's entire penal population:
The National Penitentiary served to incapacitate the capital's violent gang members and leaders. Between 3,000 and 4,000 former inmates are now on the streets. The remains and records amid the rubble of the Ministry of Justice have been torched, destroying the information needed to track down the former prison population. Law and order are fragile now, but still, violent incidents are few.
The Seattle-based blogger, Pete Brook, uses his background in art history and museum studies to artfully present his views on prison reform at the blog, where he ponders the deeper philosophical meanings of prison photography:
If a camera is within prison walls we should always be asking; How did it get there? What are/were the motives? What are the responses? I consider the photograph as social document, therefore, what social and political powers are at play in a photograph’s manufacture? And, how is knowledge, related to those powers, constructed?
Ironically, Brook couldn't find much in the way of imagery to adorn his coverage of Italy's new transgender pen. He did, however, manage to dig up an old blog post by yours truly on transgender prisoners, which is how I stumbled across his blog. Check out the Prison Photography blog HERE, or its "alter ego," Photography Prison ("focused on more things photography than things prison"), HERE. The linkfest alone is worth the visit.

1 comment:

Zot said...

Whereas here in the US we have a politician making hostility to non-criminal transgenders a conerstone of his campaign:


What a strange country we live in.