LBGTQ people are over represented and targeted in the justice system

trans people and queer people face increased levels of incarceration and supervision compared to cisgender and heterosexual individuals, according to a report from the Prison Policy Initiative

LGBTQIA+ people, or people who are not cisgender (identify as the gender they were born as) or heterosexual (attracted exclusively to the opposite gender), are over represented in the American justice system. We focus on a report from the Prison Policy Initiative that shows the inequity.

The Youth

  • 20% of youth in the juvenile justice system are LGBTQ

  • “In order to survive, LGBTQ youth are pushed towards criminalized behaviors such as drug sales, theft, or survival sex, which increase their risk of arrest and confinement.”


  • Gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals were 2.25 times as likely to be arrested than straight individuals

  • Lesbian and bisexual women are 4 times as likely to be arrested than straight women.

  • Gay and bisexual men are 1.35 times more likely to be arrested than straight men.

Sentencing and incarceration

  • 1 in 20 men in prison identify as gay or bisexual

  • 1 in 3 women in prison identify as lesbian or bisexual

  • almost 1 in 4 women in county and municipal jails identify as lesbian or bisexual


  • “Lesbian or bisexual women are sentenced to longer periods of incarceration than straight women.”

  • “Gay and bisexual men were more likely than straight men to have sentences longer than 10 years in prison.”

  • “Sexual minorities” were more likely to be put in solitary confinement than straight men and women in prisons and jails.

  • 85% of one survey’s respondents reported that they had been held in solitary confinement at some point during their sentence.

Read the full report here.

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