Executive Summary - Disproportionate Rates of Misconduct Reported by Marginalized Groups

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4. Disproportionate Rates of Misconduct Reported by Marginalized Groups

a. Disparities Based on Race and Ethnicity

b. Disparities Based on Gender Identity or Gender Expression

c.  Disparities Based on Income

d. Disparities Based on HIV Status

e. Disparities Based on Ability

 

DISPROPORTIONATE RATES OF MISCONDUCT REPORTED BY MARGINALIZED GROUPS 

The survey results pointed all too frequently to a trend of discriminatory behavior across government agencies toward all LGBT people and people living with HIV. However, as with all forms of discrimination, respondents with multiple marginalized identities—such as being a lesbian living with HIV, a gay man with a disability or a low-income transgender person of color— were more likely to report misconduct and abuse by police, courts, prisons, and school security and staff. This section looks at ways respondents who identified as people of color, transgender or gender-nonconforming (TGNC), low-income, living with HIV and as having a disability experienced disproportionate rates of misconduct and discrimination.

Disparities Based on Race and Ethnicity

In many instances, respondents of color were much more likely to report negative and discriminatory interactions with the police compared to respondents who did not identify as people of color. 

  • 17% of respondents of color with recent police contact were physically searched or asked to empty their pockets, purse or backpack, compared to 8% of respondents who did not identify as people of color.
  • 24% of respondents of color with recent police contact reported that police verbally assaulted them, compared to 11% of respondents who did not identify as people of color.
  • 30% of respondents of color reported that a police officer accused them of an offense they did not commit, compared to 18% of respondents who did not identify as people of color.
  • 32% of respondents of color with recent police contact reported the police were hostile, compared to 18% of respondents who did not identify as people of color. Among people of color, Latino respondents most often reported that police were “hostile” (40%).
  • Among certain respondents of color, the rates of physical search were even higher than for people of color overall: and 21% of African American respondents , 21% of Latino respondents and 22% of Native American respondents were searched.

Respondents of color were also much more likely to report misconduct in court relating to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • 14% of respondents of color said their LGBTQ identity was disclosed against their will during a court proceeding (compared to 10% of respondents who did not identify as people of color) and 18% of Latino respondents reported this type of misconduct.
  • 25% of respondents of color involved in a court proceeding in the past five years reported that their LGBTQ identity was raised when it was not at issue, compared to 13% of respondents who did not identify as people of color.
  • Among certain respondents of color, the rates of inappropriate or irrelevant discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity were even higher than for people of color overall: 28% of Native American respondents and 29% of Latino respondents reported being irrelevantly “outed” in court.

Survey respondents of color experienced disproportionate rates of incarceration and were much more often placed in single-sex housing that did not match their gender identity.

  • 9% of respondents of color, compared to 4% of respondents who did not identify as people of color, reported that they had spent time in jail or prison over the previous five years.
  • Among certain respondents of color, the rates of incarceration were higher than for people of color overall, including Latinos (10%), African Americans (12%) and Native Americans (13%).
  • Respondents of color who had spent time in jail or prison were nearly twice as likely to report being placed in a single-sex jail or section that did not match their gender identity (36%) compared to their counterparts who did not identify as people of color (19%).

Respondents of color, particularly Latino respondents, were much more likely to attend schools with a security presence. Latino respondents in particular were disproportionately subjected to negative and discriminatory treatment from school security.

  • Of the 18- to 24-year-old respondents who answered our questions about middle and high school, 79% of respondents of color had security in their schools, compared to 63% of respondents who did not identify as people of color. 77% of African American respondents and 91% of Latino respondents reporting the presence of school security and police.
  • 31% of respondents of color with school security reported hearing school security use anti-LGBTQ language such as “fag” or “dyke,” compared to 19% of respondents who did not identify as people of color. Nearly half (45%) of Latino respondents reported hearing anti-LGBTQ language from school security.
  • Respondents of color more often reported that they were verbally assaulted by school security (15%) than respondents who did not identify as people of color (6%), with over a quarter of Latino respondents (26%) reporting verbal assault.

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Disparities Based on Gender Identity or Gender Expression 

Transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) respondents disproportionately reported a range of negative and discriminatory interactions with the police, including searches, harassment and assault. TGNC respondents of color were often even more likely to report police misconduct.

Hostile attitudes from police:

  • 32% of TGNC respondents and 39% TGNC people of color who had recent face-to-face contact with police reported that police were hostile, compared to 19% of respondents who were not TGNC.
  • An overwhelming majority of transgender women (72%) reported hostile police attitudes.

Physical searches by police:

  • Transgender respondents were twice as likely as cisgender (non-transgender) respondents to report being be searched by police. 18% of transgender compared to 9% of cisgender respondents were physically searched or asked to empty pockets or bags by police in their most recent interaction with police.
  • 25% of TGNC respondents of color and 36% of TGNC women of color reported being searched by police.

Assault and harassment by police:

  • 4% of transgender and 7% of TGNC people of color respondents reported being physically assaulted by police, compared to 2% of cisgender respondents.
  • 22% of transgender respondents, 27% of TGNC people of color and 36% of TGNC women reported being verbally assaulted by police, compared to 13% of cisgender respondents.
  • TGNC respondents were more than twice as likely to report sexual harassment by police. 8% of transgender, compared to 3% of cisgender respondents reported being sexually harassed by police and 10% of TGNC respondents of color and 16% of TGNC women of color respondents claimed they were sexually harassed by police.

False accusations by police:

  • 36% of transgender respondents reported that a police officer accused them of an offense they did not commit, compared to 18% of cisgender respondents.

Consistent with the deadly trend of violence against transgender people across the country, TGNC respondents were more likely to report that they had been victims of violent crimes in the previous five years.

  • 18% reported having experienced intimate partner violence, compared to 11% of non-TGNC respondents.
  • 21% of TGNC respondents reported having experienced personal assault in the past five years, compared to 11% of non-TGNC respondents.
  • TGNC respondents told us they had experienced sexual assault at nearly three times the rate of non-TGNC respondents: 16% versus 6%.

Transgender survey respondents who sought out police when they were the victims of crimes disproportionately reported that police did not adequately respond.

  • 52% of transgender respondents, compared to 33% of cisgender respondents, felt police did not fully address a complaint about sexual assault.
  • 55% of transgender respondents, compared to 36% of cisgender respondents, said they experienced at least one incident in which police failed to fully address their complaints about intimate partner violence.
  • 61% of transgender respondents, compared to 47% of cisgender respondents, said police had not fully responded to a complaint about property crime.

Transgender respondents were at least twice as likely—and transgender women at least four times more likely—to report misconduct in the courthouse than their cisgender counterparts.

  • 4% of transgender respondents and 13% of transgender women respondents stated that their HIV status was raised in court when it was not relevant, compared to 2% of cisgender respondents.
  • 29% of transgender respondents and 31% of transgender women reported that their LGBT identity was disclosed against their will during a court proceeding, compared to 8% of cisgender respondents.
  • 31% of transgender and 66% of transgender women reported that their LGBT identity was raised as an issue when it was not relevant, compared to 13% of cisgender respondents.

TGNC respondents, especially those who identified as women and people of color, were more likely to have spent time in prison, were nearly always placed in sections that did not match their gender identity and more often reported assault and abuse by prison staff.

  • TGNC respondents were more than twice as likely to report having been incarcerated in jail or prison (10%) compared to those who did not identify as TGNC (4%).
  • TGNC women (12%) were even more likely to have been to jail or prison.
  • TGNC respondents of color were four times more likely to report spending time in jail or prison (20%) than cisgender respondents who did not identify as people of color (5%), while TGNC women of color respondents were more than five times more likely to have spent time in jail or prison (27%).
  • 34% of TGNC respondents who had been in jail or prison stated they had been sexually harassed by staff compared to 23% of non-TGNC respondents who had been in jail or prison.
  • A majority (60%) of TGNC respondents reported having been placed in a single-sex jail or prison or a single-sex section that did not match their gender identity.
  • 67% of TGNC respondents who had been in jail or prison stated that they had been verbally assaulted by prison staff, compared to 56% of non-TGNC respondents who had been in jail or prison.

Transgender respondents more often reported that they were disciplined in middle or high school:

  • 67% of transgender respondents, compared to 56% of cisgender respondents, reported spending time in detention during middle or high school.
  • Transgender respondents were more than twice as likely to report being suspended in school. 37% of transgender, compared to 17% of cisgender respondents, were suspended in middle or high school.

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Disparities Based on Income

Low-income survey respondents (annual income of $20,000 or less) were also much more likely to experience some forms of discrimination and mistreatment from police, in courts and in prison. In nearly every instance surveyed, low-income respondents experienced negative and discriminatory treatment from police at least twice as often as respondents with higher incomes.

  • Low-income respondents reported that police officers were hostile toward them at twice the rate of respondents with higher incomes (35% versus 17%, respectively).
  • Low-income respondents were more likely to be searched by police (17%), compared to higher-income respondents (8%).
  • 5% of low-income respondents were physically assaulted by police, compared to 2% of other respondents.
  • 7% of low-income respondents reported in the survey that they had been sexually harassed by police, compared to 2% of other respondents.
  • 25% of low-income respondents reported being verbally assaulted by police, compared to 11% of higher-income respondents.
  • 30% of low-income respondents stated they had been falsely accused of an offense by police, and 8% stated they had been falsely arrested by police, compared to 17% of higher-income respondents who said they were falsely accused and 3% who said they had been falsely arrested.
  • When filing complaints about misconduct to police authorities, low-income people were also more likely to feel their complaints were not fully addressed (85% for low-income, compared to 66% for higher-income).

Low-income respondents were also at a significant disadvantage in court and were often twice as likely to be improperly exposed as LGBT or living with HIV by attorneys, judges or other court employees.

  • 4% of low-income respondents reported their HIV status was disclosed against their will, while only 1% of higher-income respondents reported this experience.
  • 5% of low-income respondents stated their HIV status was raised when it was not relevant, compared to 2% of higher-income respondents.
  • 20% of low-income respondents said their LGBT identity was disclosed against their will, compared to 8% of higher-income respondents.
  • 28% of LGBT respondents said that their LGBT identity was raised when it was not relevant during a court proceeding in the past five years while 13% of higher-income respondents had this experience.

There were also disparities in the way low-income respondents were treated while incarcerated.

  • Low-income respondents were much more likely to report being sexually harassed by prison staff (38%), compared to those with higher incomes (17%), and were more likely to report being disciplined by prison staff for an offense they did not commit (33%), compared to other respondents (20%).
  • Low-income respondents were also twice as likely to report that they had been placed in a jail, prison or section that did not match their gender identity, with 38% reporting this type of discrimination compared to 18% of higher-income respondents.

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Disparities Based on HIV Status

The Protected and Served? data points to ways respondents living with HIV disproportionately experience misconduct and discrimination in the criminal justice system, particularly by police and in jails and prisons. Respondents living with HIV were more likely to experience police neglect when they were victims of violence, and they were much more likely to be searched, harassed or assaulted by police than other respondents.

  • Respondents living with HIV were nearly twice as likely to say they had been searched during a recent encounter with the police (16%), compared to 9% of respondents not living with HIV.
  • 21% of respondents living with HIV were verbally assaulted by police, compared to 13% of those not living with HIV; 6% were physically assaulted, compared to 2% of those not living with HIV; and 5% were sexually harassed by police, compared to 3% of those not living with HIV.
  • 54% of respondents living with HIV felt police did not fully respond when they were victims of intimate partner violence, compared to 36% of other respondents.
  • 73% of respondents living with HIV who sought out the police because they were victims of personal assault felt the police did not adequately respond, compared to 59% of other respondents.

 

Additionally, respondents living with HIV were also nearly three times more likely to report having spent time in jail or prison in the previous five years. Once incarcerated, they more often were harassed and assaulted by prison staff.

  • 11% of respondents living with HIV had recently been in jail or prison, compared to 4% of those not living with HIV.
  • 71% of respondents living with HIV were verbally assaulted by prison staff, compared to 51% of other respondents; 18% stated they were physically assaulted by prison staff, compared to 11% of other respondents; and 39% (compared to 24%) were sexually harassed by prison staff.

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Disparities Based on Ability

Our survey asked if respondents have a physical, mental or learning disability. Disability was self-defined, and for some respondents that definition may include living with HIV.

Respondents who identified as having a disability experienced significant disparities in terms of police interactions, mistreatment in court, school discipline and mistreatment in jail or prison.

Respondents with disabilities who were victims of crimes were more likely to report that police did not fully address their complaints:

  • 30% of respondents with disabilities thought police were hostile in their recent interaction, compared to 18% of those without disabilities.
  • 46% of those with disabilities felt police did not fully respond when they were victims of sexual assault, compared to 31% of respondents without disabilities.
  • 49% compared to 34% felt police did not fully respond to complaints about intimate partner violence.
  • 54% of those with disabilities compared to 48% of those without disabilities felt police neglected their complaints of property crime.
  • 74% compared to 56% of those without disabilities felt police neglected their complaints of personal assault.

Additionally, respondents with disabilities were often twice as likely to report they had been harassed and assaulted by police:

  • 6% said they were sexually harassed by police compared to 3% of other respondents.
  • 17% said they had been searched by police compared to 18% of respondents without disabilities.
  • 24% said they were verbally assaulted by police compared to 12% of other respondents.

Respondents with disabilities who had been in a court proceeding during the previous five years were twice as likely to have their LGBT identity or HIV status improperly exposed in court.

  • 3% of respondents with disabilities had their HIV status disclosed against their will in court, compared to 1% of those who did not have disabilities.
  • 4% of respondents with disabilities said their HIV status was raised as an issue in court when it was not relevant, compared to 2% of their counterparts without disabilities.
  • 17% of respondents with disabilities said their LGBT identity was disclosed against their will in court, compared to 9% of those without disabilities.
  • A quarter of respondents with disabilities said their LGBT identity was raised in court when it was not relevant, compared to 13% for those without disabilities.

Respondents who answered our questions about their middle and high school experience and also identified as having a disability experienced significantly higher instances of suspensions and felt they were treated harshly by school staff because they were lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ).

  • 24% of respondents with disabilities felt they were treated harshly by teachers, administrators, schools security and or school police because they of their LGBTQ identity, compared to 19% of other respondents.
  • 27% of respondents with disabilities were suspended from school, compared to 18% of those without disabilities.

Respondents with disabilities were somewhat more likely to have been in jail or prison and significantly more likely to report having been assaulted or harassed in jail or prison.

  • 21% of those with disabilities were physically assaulted by staff in jail or prison, compared to 9% of non-disabled respondents.
  • 30% of respondents with disabilities say they have been incarcerated, compared to 24% of respondents without disabilities.
  • 38% of respondents with disabilities were sexually harassed by prison staff, compared to 21% of respondents without disabilities.
  • 42% of respondents with disabilities said they were disciplined for an offense they did not commit, compared to 19% of those without disabilities.
  • 55% of respondents with disabilities said they were accused of an offense they did not commit while in jail or prison, compared to 35% of those without disabilities.
  • Two-thirds (67%) of those with disabilities being verbally assaulted by prison staff, compared to half (51%) of respondents who were not disabled.

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Summary of Recommendations >