Athens, October 17, 2022
Subject: «The observations and proposals of the GTSA on the Draft Law on the Reform and Modernization of the Penal Code»
The Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA), is a voluntary non-governmental organization that promotes the rights and freedoms of trans, gender-diverse, and LGBTQI persons in general, as well as sex workers, with this press release submits its contribution, observations and proposals on the Draft Law of the Ministry of Citizen Protection entitled: “Reform and modernization of the Penal Code – Amendments to Law 2776/1999” , mainly from the perspective of the human rights of trans and LGBTI+ in general persons.
In particular, the GTSA, in continuation of earlier proposals it has made to the State since 2013 , but also newer ones in 2017 during the last legislative intervention on the Penal Code, targeted actions , but also accumulated experience and activity on issues concerning LGBTQI + and especially trans persons who are either imprisoned , or in detention, as well as our contribution to the decision of the former General Secretary of Anti-Criminal Policy, Mrs. Sofia Nikolaou, where in the case of four transgender women prisoners, who until recently were in the Penitentiary Stores of the men’s prisons of Trikala and Corfu, moved to a special area of the Korydallos Women’s Prison, but without being isolated from the rest of the prisoners , submits the following proposals by article:
Chapter Two: General Principles and Rights of Prisoners.
Article 5.- Equality in the treatment of prisoners – Amendment of Article 3 of Law 2776/1999
This Article constitutes the application of the principle of equal treatment in the field of penitentiary facilities. However, given that now throughout the Greek legal system regarding equal treatment, the criminal code, as well as other relevant legislation, in addition to sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity and sex characteristics are included, we consider it imperative to add them to the first paragraph of this article, both for legal technicalities, and for substantive reasons of the protection of the entire range of imprisoned persons, especially transgender persons.
In addition to the second paragraph regarding reasons for special treatment, as such reasons apply to transgender detainees – especially in the manner of detention, but also the conditions related to their gender expression or gender identity – because, especially for this category of prisoners there are obvious individualized needs (as provided for in the specific article). Also, in the same paragraph, in addition to unmarried or married people, we also consider it appropriate to refer to persons who have entered into a civil partnership.
In particular, we propose the following wording for this article:
“Article 5 – Equality in the treatment of prisoners
1. Any unfavorable discriminatory treatment of prisoners, in particular based on race, colour, national, ethnic or social origin, property status, disability, religious or ideological beliefs, sexual orientation, sex/gender, gender expression, gender identity or sex characteristics is prohibited.
2. Special treatment of prisoners is reserved, when justified by their legal or factual situation, such as defendants and convicts, married and unmarried or those who have entered into a civil partnership, minors and adults, persons with special needs, persons for reasons of gender expression, gender identity or sex characteristics , or for religious or other beliefs, as long as it is done in favor of the prisoner and to serve the individual needs arising from the situation finds.
Chapter Three: Penitentiary Policy Implementation Bodies
Article 8 – Central Scientific Council of Prisons
We consider it positive that the Scientific Council will have an academic rank member, with the subject matter of “criminal or penitentiary or constitutional or European law issues”, but in addition we suggest that it should definitely also have human rights as a subject, while possibly this Council should be examined and established as an Independent Authority.
Article 10 – Central Transfer Committee
We also consider positive the fact that in Article 10, par.2.β, the proposal that we had made earlier was accepted, according to which, Central Transfer Committee may communicate with the detained person, so that relevant clarifications can be provided by him/her or to express his/her views.
Chapter Four: Categories of Prisoners.
Article 13.- Young Prisoners
In the first paragraph, for reasons of inclusiveness and substantial equality, we propose replacing the expression “both gender” with “Detained persons regardless of sex/gender and gender identity or gender expression”. More generally, with regard to this Draft Law, it would be good where there is a reference to sex/gender, this should not be done through references to gender binary.
Also, in the fourth paragraph that refers to the inclusion of young incarcerated persons in treatment programs, on the one hand support should be added and on the other hand gender identity reasons should be added for young transgender persons who need psychological support or gender affirming hormones. Specifically, we propose the following wording:
“4. Young detained persons with special needs, mental health problems, or psychological support and gender affirming hormones for reasons of gender identity, are submitted to the necessary therapeutic programs or support programs, as specifically provided for in article 30 hereof.”
Article 14.- Women Prisoners.
We consider it more than necessary in the first paragraph that states the need to segregate detention for reasons of women’s gender, to clearly add transgender prisoners as well. In this direction, it is necessary to capture and implement the Committe’s Conclusion on the preparation of a “National Strategy for LGBTI+ rights” by the Prime Minister, which on page 37 states:
“Furthermore, there is a need to ensure that transgender persons, regardless of whether or not they have changed their documents, are detained according to the gender they self-determination with.”
Specifically, we propose the following wording:
“1. Women live in women’s detention facilities or in special sections of other facilities. Transgender women are also included in this category. In this case, their communication with prisoners of other categories is prohibited.”
Also, in the second paragraph, for legal technical reasons now that the amendment we propose in the first paragraph is qualified, in addition to the gender, it is necessary to add the gender expression, gender identity and sex characteristics. Specifically, we propose the following wording:
“2. In the facilities or in the special detention units for women, the living rules and the programs applied therein are adapted to the needs of their sex/gender, gender expression, gender identity or sex characteristics.
Article 15.- Male prisoners.
For exactly the same reasons as Article 14, we propose including men and transgender men in the category. Specifically, we propose the following wording:
“Men who have been sentenced to a sentence against liberty are housed in detention facilities intended for them, without coming into contact with prisoners of previous charges. Transgender men are also included in this category of prisoners.”
Chapter Six: Admission and Living of Prisoners in Penitentiaries
Article 25.- Admission procedure.
Paragraph 6 concerns the manner of physical control and personal items in relation to gender. Here, the Conclusion of the preparation of the “National Strategy for LGBTI+ rights” must be taken into account, which, at the same point mentioned above, also notes:
“With regard to the physical control to which transgender persons are often subjected, the element of gender expression and gender identity of the individual should be respected, especially in the cases of transgender persons who have not undergone gender affirming surgery. In the UK, for example, a trans person in custody is asked by staff what gender police officerthey wish to be checked by”.
Specifically, we propose the following wording:
“6. The newly-entered person is subjected to a physical and personal search, which is conducted in a special place and in a way that does not affect his/her dignity. The search is carried out by at least two employees of the same gender as the prisoner, or in the case of a transgender person, the staff asks which gender employee wishes to be checked.”
Article 31.- Admission of sick prisoners to therapeutic Penitentiaries or nursing institutions.
This article, in addition to the health needs of sick prisoners, also refers to their transfer to nursing institutions if their condition requires it. For the special cases of transgender prisoners (which, after all, we have already emphasized from Article 5, par. 2 hereof that they must be included in the categories of prisoners who need special treatment), we propose that they have the express possibility of being transferred to nursing institutions either for reasons for special mental support from doctors specialized in gender identity issues (which are practically impossible to have in institutions inside prisons), or for reasons related to gender transition (endocrinologists, hormone specialists).
Specifically, in paragraph 1, in its second part, we propose the following wording:
“If their situation dictates it, with the proposal and opinion of the competent physician of the Penitentiary and upon the order of the Director of the relevant clinic, they are transferred to a special therapeutic or psychiatric unit of the nearest hospital of the regional unit where the Penitentiary is located or to a corresponding hospital unit of the same region. Special care is taken for transgender prisoners in case of need for mental support or procedures related to gender transition”
Article 33.- Clothing.
This article sets the dress code. For obvious reasons to respect the gender expression, gender identity or sex characteristics that we propose should be guaranteed by article 5 of this law (see first comment), we consider it necessary (and for reasons also highlighted in the Conclusion of the Committee on the National Strategy for LGBTI+ rights), after paragraph 2 add a new paragraph 3 (and renumber the following, or 2A) with the following wording:
“3. Clothing and footwear follows or is provided with full respect for prisoners’ sex/gender, gender expression, gender identity or sex characteristics.”
Chapter Six: Prisoners’ Educational Programs and Leisure Time
Article 35: Education and professional training
In this Article, we consider it appropriate to add care for persons who, due to their gender identity, have experienced limited access, discrimination or exclusion from the workplace in the past. Specifically, we recommend the following addition:
“Special care is taken for the persons who, according to Article 21, record their social gender in addition to their id details, for their education and professional training without discrimination”.
ChapterNine: Prisoners’ CommunicationRights
Article 47.- Visits.
This article defines the manner and conditions of visits to detained persons. We consider it necessary to explicitly mention the representatives of non-governmental organizations in paragraph 2.
Chapter Twelve: Transfer of Prisoners
Article 62.- Transfer.
We welcome the fact that gender identity and sex characteristics are included in point στ) as grounds for transfer, however for completeness, we suggest adding gender expression as well.Specifically, weproposethewording:
στ)related to the respect of rights based on gender expression, gender identity and sex characteristics,
After all, this report further reinforces the reasons given in previous proposals in the above articles, as gender expression, gender identity and sex characteristics constitute reasons for special treatment of prisoners.
Article 63.- Transfers for reasons related to the smooth operation of the Detention Facility, disciplinary and respect for rights based on gender identity and sex characteristics
For exactly the same reasons as in the previous article, we propose the addition of the gender expression.
Chapter Fourteen: Care after penitentiary.
Article 68.- Care of the State before and after the final dismissal.
In this article, the ways of the care after penitentiary after the final dismissal and serving of sentence are recorded. We consider it appropriate for groups of ex-prisoners who have particular vulnerabilities, such as e.g. transgender persons, to be explicitly included in a specific paragraph of this article.
Specifically, after paragraph 2, we propose adding a new paragraph 3 (and renumbering the rest) as follows:
“3. Special care for reintegration and adaptation is taken for persons with vulnerabilities or persons who are discriminated against on grounds of national, ethnic or social origin, property status, disability, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, sex/gender, gender expression, gender identity or sex characteristics.”
Also, in the context of implementing good practices regarding transgender persons in detention or in prison, we propose that the competent Ministry examine the good practices followed since August 2016 in Malta , both regarding the segregation of prisoners and consequential arrangements concerning clothing, health and others, as well as the necessary training of prison staff in matters of gender expression, gender identity and sex characteristics, while the recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of 2016 on the rights of prisoners can be a guide .
Finally, as we have pointed out in other cases of Draft laws, a further observation is that the language chosen should always be gender-neutral so as to be properly inclusive of every person regardless of sex/gender, gender expression, genderidentity or sex characteristics.
The Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA) submits the above proposals in the hope that they will be accepted by the competent Ministry, for the respect of all persons in detention, among others and for reasons of gender expression, gender identity and sex characteristics in accordance with the directions of the Conclusion of the “Committee for the National Strategy for LGBTI+ Rights” which our memorable President, Marina Galanou participated in and the recommendations of European and international organizations, and will continue to work for the abolition of discrimination in all sectors of public and private sphere.
THE BOARD OF MEMBERS
GREEK TRANSGENDER SUPPORT ASSOCIATION
15 ViktorosUgo, 10437, Athens
Trans Day Reception & Empowerment Center: Evangelistrias 6, Kallithea Athens, 17671
Tel. 210.9210 697 & 698 753 9741
Office hours for the public: Tuesday & Thursday – 12.00-20.00
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