Strategic Segregation in the Modern Prison
By Sharon Dolovich
Gay and transgender people are disproportionately vulnerable to sexual assault behind bars. Rather than ignoring the problem or confining members of these groups to solitary confinement while in custody, the L.A. County Jail segregates them into a special housing unit called “K6G.” Dolovich’s article, originally published in the American Criminal Law Review, carefully describes how detainees are identified for inclusion in K6G and responds to some constitutional and moral objections to “strategic segregation” based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It also documents K6G’s success in protecting residents from sexual assault and from the gang politics that pervade life in the Jail’s General Population. Drawing on extensive interviews with K6G residents and with the officers in charge of the unit, Dolovich concludes that K6G offers a plausible model, if not the only one, for protecting gay and transgender detainees from sexual assault.
*Article awarded Dukeminier Award for Best Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law Review Articles of 2011; originally published in the American Criminal Law Review (2001).