The Number of Transgender Inmates in Texas Prisons is Higher Than Ever

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelSeptember 28, 2016 11:03 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

The number of transgender inmates in Texas jails and prisons has reached a record high. Lauren McGaughy has been covering the story for the Dallas Morning News:

“We’re talking just about individuals who have openly identified to officials that they’re transgender so this likely doesn’t capture every single transgender inmate,” McGaughy says. “But it is a measure of those who have come forward.”

Right now the Texas Department of Criminal Justice says there are 333 openly transgender inmates. That’s compared to 67 in September 2014, a pretty big jump in two years. So why did that happen?

“It’s really difficult to pinpoint, it’s nearly impossible, but the most likely reasons are probably Texas officials asking people for the first time to identify their gender identity,” she says. “So that began in March 2014. That was the first time Texas actually asked inmates upon intake whether they identified as transgender. It was probably a combination of that and a general broadening of the populous that is aware of the issues important to transgender people, both incarcerated and not incarcerated.” 

While transgender people only make up 0.2 percent of the state’s total incarcerated population, they are more likely to be targets of violence than other prisoners. Demoya Gordon is an attorney with the LGBT advocacy organization Lambda Legal. She says transgender women are especially “vulnerable to sexual assault and rape, and physical assault while incarcerated.” 

McGaughy says that in the last six months, the TDCJ has placed 26 transgender inmates in what’s called “safekeeping” – a kind of protective housing.

Bad news this week for the Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt. Eddie Robinson with Houston Public Media reports that a person close to the NFL star says he’s re-injured his back

“The Houston Texans expect him to be out until at least December, possibly the entire season,” Robinson says. “Watt missed training camp and Houston’s four preseason games back in July. He started each of the team’s three regular-season games and got hurt again Thursday against the Patriots.”

Robinson says it’s unclear if Watts will need surgery – he didn’t practice on Monday, but coach Bill O’Brian said he was “just getting a day off.”

The Texans take on the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, October 2. 

If you’re looking for a date in Laredo – good luck! Personal finance site ValuePenguin ranked the 200 best and worst cities to be single and Laredo came in dead last.

But for a little perspective, Texas cities like Beaumont and Brownsville were in the bottom five as well.