In Texas, jail confronts issue of inmate safety

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HOUSTON (AP) — A jail in Houston seeking to reform its housing requirements for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender inmates so it meets new federal rules is hitting a roadblock: existing state law.

The Harris County Jail recently changed its policy to allow transgender individuals to be housed based on their gender identity rather than their biological gender.

But that put it in conflict with Texas law, which says transgender inmates need to be housed with people with the same biological gender.

Agencies nationwide are running into similar conflicts as they try to meet requirements of a federal law designed to cut down on sexual assault in jails and prisons.

Part of the law focuses on changing how a particularly vulnerable population — the gay, lesbian and transgender community — are housed.

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