For their own safety, LGBT prisoners are often placed in administrative segregation or protective custody. Administrative segregation is akin to disciplinary custody. This places inmates in a highly restrictive, isolated setting - sometimes in more or less a permanent lock-down or solitary confinement setting -- thus preventing these inmates from participating in drug and alcohol treatment, education, job-training, having contact with other prisoners or outside visitors, or from enjoying privileges that other inmates are allowed to enjoy.
In other cases, institutions may have special areas (known by such nicknames as "queerentine", "gay tank," "queen tank," or "softie tank") for housing vulnerable inmates such as LGBT people, elderly or disabled prisoners, or informers. In San Francisco, for example, transgender inmates are automatically segregated from other prisoners. Nevertheless, according to Eileen Hirst, San Francisco Sheriff's Chief of Staff, being gay is not in itself enough to justify a request for protective housing: inmates requesting such housing must demonstrate that they are vulnerable.