Correction officers at the Isle of Wight County Jail — and their neighbors at any other county jail in Virginia — have long been asked to use the gender pronoun they themselves choose in speaking with inmates.
This same request — along with ones asking for gender-neutral bathrooms and facilities — has been made by inmates, although for a much different reason. With almost every one who shows up in the jail, they may be wearing a gendered uniform — orange jumpsuits. They’re also often looking for housing options in the LGBT community.
And instead of housing them in all-male housing, who knows what might be used against them in a potential segregation room? Or the men’s restroom?
The question of how male- and female-identifying inmates in the Isle of Wight County Jail can be housed is fairly straightforward: Gender-neutral is the way to go. They don’t want to be segregated. But in a county still proudly known as the “women’s jail,” that’s easier said than done.
So when it comes to uniforms for inmates, the prison’s staff is still using the traditional male and female options — their own choice. However, they are now identifying the inmates’ gender markers by their middle name. It’s no big deal. In fact, “officers are looking forward to implementing this policy,” according to information from the county.
Here’s a video showing the currently male and female uniforms in use on the Isle of Wight County jail: