Michigan prisons stop identifying orientation

BY Advocate.com Editors

April 09 2003 11:00 PM ET

The Michigan Department of Corrections will stop identifying a prisoner's sexual orientation on its forms after a civil rights group questioned the practice. The department conducted an internal investigation after the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan sent a letter expressing concern that identifying a prisoner as a homosexual puts the prisoner at greater risk for violence.

Russ Marlan, a spokesman for the department, said a question regarding sexual orientation had been included on four forms, including prisoner transfer forms and presentencing reports, for several years, though it wasn't known for exactly how long. It was put there to identify prisoners who might be preyed upon, Marlan said. But the ACLU said identifying people as gay on forms and records would have the opposite effect.

Marlan said the department doesn't see a need to continue the practice and is changing the forms.

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