The D.C. Department of Corrections (DOC) has amended its policy to permit transgender female inmates to shave, even when other inmates may not be permitted to use razors themselves, according to a memo issued by Thomas Faust, director of DOC.
The ruling comes after a violent incident in which one inmate injured another with a razor at the D.C. Jail, according to transgender activist Jeri Hughes. As a result, all inmates were prohibited from using razors to shave, including transgender female inmates. Last month, the Transgender Advisory Committee, a board that provides guidance to DOC to ensure it is compliant with the District’s Human Rights Act as it pertains to equal treatment of transgender inmates, raised the issue to Faust. Hughes said Faust told the advisory committee he would resolve it within two weeks. He implemented a change in the policy within a week, which took effect Nov. 4. He then followed up on that policy change by signing a memo Nov. 7 to make the changes a matter of record.
According to the memo, once a transgender inmate is identified, a case manager will interview the inmate to ask if she is interested in receiving shaving services. The case manager will keep a record of the inmate’s decision, and if the inmate accepts, she will sign a consent form.
To take advantage of the shaving services, which are offered on Monday and Friday of every week, the transgender inmates who agree will be taken to the female receiving and discharge area, where they will be allowed to shave. Administrators will also check to see that the services are being received and that each inmate has signed the appropriate consent form. Transgender inmates will also be given the opportunity to purchase Magic Shave, a shaving cream that dissolves facial hair. These services will be available to transgender inmates, even if the rest of the jail’s population is not permitted to access shaving services.
DOC classifies an inmate who has male genitals as a male and one who has female genitals as a female, unless otherwise recommended by the Transgender Committee and approved consistent with this policy.