The Federal Bureau of Prisons has ordered every federal prison to appoint an LGBT representative to its long-standing the affirmative employment program.

The bureau employs about 40,000 people nationwide and, until the order, LGBT staff did not have designated representatives in the program.

The order also requires that more than 120 prisons hold at least one event a year to educate and inform staff about LGBT diversity and also designate an LGBT program manager to monitor equal opportunity programs.

The announcement came a year after Brian Winfield of the LGBT group Equality Florida met with employees at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in the state. EF said the meeting, held to commemorate Pride, was the first ever LGBT staff event in a federal prison.

“I am so proud to have worked with this group of employees whose efforts impacted national policy,” said Winfield. “It is only because they believed that LGBT individuals and issues needed more visibility, and because it was the right thing to do, that employees at federal prisons now have a place at the table within the Bureau of Prisons.”

EF executive director Nadine Smith will participate in another Pride-related event at Coleman on June 28.

The employment reforms follow a memo from bureau director Charles E. Samuels Jr., who wrote, “I am personally committed to ensuring that we provide an environment where diversity is valued, understood and embraced at all Bureau of Prison locations.… Every BOP institution and office should provide training and foster an atmosphere that provides access to all Special Emphasis Program areas.”

The memo listed various program areas that, for the first time, included a “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Program.” 

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