There are Twice as Many LGBTQ People in Prison as in the General Population

Twenty-one percent of transgender women have spent time in prison or jail, versus 5 percent of all people in general.

The number of people in prison or jail who identify as LGBTQ is roughly twice that of their general population. And whereas about 8 percent of all youth identify as LGBTQ or gender non-conforming, 20 percent of youth in several juvenile detention sites across the country identified that way, including 40 percent of girls.

All these findings are included in a new report from the Center for American Progress and the Movement Advancement Project called Unjust: How the Broken Criminal Justice System Fails LGBT People. The report details how LGBT people of color are particularly affected.

According to the report, LGBT people are more likely to interact with law enforcement and enter a criminal justice system where they are treated unfairly and more likely to be locked up and to face abuse once there. They also face additional challenges upon leaving incarceration and trying to rebuild their lives.

The report frames the issue in the broader context of a criminal justice system that is more likely to seek out and punish people of color, particularly African Americans. It also highlights individual stories, such as that of a gay youth mistreated by the child welfare system who spent time on the streets; several accounts from transgender people in prison; and a black gay man’s ongoing consequences of being convicted under an HIV criminalization statue in Louisiana.