Missoula County Detention Center Explains Transgender Inmate Policy
There's room for up to 342 male and female inmates at the Missoula County detention Center, but Jail Commander Jason Kowalski and the sheriff's office have also developed policies for housing transgendered persons.
One example is the case of Caressa Jill Hardy, also known as Glenn Dibley, who was arraigned in Missoula Justice Court on Tuesday and is being held in the jail on $2 million bail. Court records indicate that Hardy began dressing like a woman and adopted a female name nearly two years ago. Kowalski said special accommodations have been made for Hardy's privacy and safety.
"The first thing we would do is put someone in administrative segregation," Kowalski explained. "That's to isolate them from the regular population, and we do that with a lot of individuals based on their crimes and how to get to know them and classify them within our jail within another assignment. First they go into a classification area, and from there we look at their criminal history and their current charges and see how they can best incorporate into the jail in general."
Kowalski said at the present time, Hardy has been housed alone.
"There are other inmates in the same area and they can talk to her when they are out of their cell for a time, but they come out alone and they are housed alone until we know a better placement for them," he said.
Kowalski said the safety of the inmates and the jail staff is the number one priority at the detention center.
"We have to protect their safety, and we also have to protect the safety of the other inmates, so there are some unique aspects to holding someone who is transgender in our facility," he said. "Just because they identify possibly as a female doesn't mean we house them with the females because there are certainly some safety concerns there. The same way, we won't put a female that identifies as a male in with the male population because there are some possible victimization issues there, as well."
Kowalski said the jail staff have been trained to be sensitive to gender identity issues.
"Our staff have been trained in those issues," said Commander Kowalski. "Things like how best to care for somebody like that, such as how they like to be spoken to and what pronouns they prefer to use. We try to mold the way we react to them based on how they want to be treated. We have a lot of ways to incorporate them into our population and treat them like anybody else. It's business as usual for us, but we try to take each one on a case by case basis."