Trans prisoner ‘misgendered and kept in solitary confinement for 24 hours a day’
An emergency court order has been filed to help a trans woman who is being kept in solitary confinement in a man’s prison for 24 hours a day.
Strawberry, who has been in solitary confinement for the past nine months at the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) guards, has only been let out of her cell to shower, reports the Uptown People’s Law Center.
The prisoner alleges that she has survived numerous sexual assaults and received constant harassment and threats during her time inside.
“As a woman in a man’s prison, Strawberry fights for her survival every day. Instead of protecting her and housing her in a woman’s prison where she can be kept safe, IDOC officials have housed her with men, thrown her in segregation, and refused to provide her with the mental health care she needs,” said Vanessa del Valle, counsel for Ms Hampton with MacArthur Justice Center.
“We tried to keep Strawberry safe without another lawsuit. But IDOC officials ignored Strawberry’s cries for help and protection. So now, Illinois taxpayer dollars will be wasted while IDOC attempts to defend these indefensible actions in court,” she added.
According to reports, officers have sexually harassed her, threatened her, and subjected her to verbal and physical abuse.
On one occasion, guards allegedly stood by and allowed a prisoner in the yard to expose his genitals and threaten to rape her.
“IDOC has demonstrated that it cannot keep Strawberry safe in a men’s prison, nor provide her with the mental health care she needs to combat the effects of long-term solitary and assaults she has survived,” Sheila Bedi, counsel with MacArthur Justice Center.
“Both the warden and the director refused to intervene to protect Ms Hampton, so we are left with no choice but to enforce her rights through the courts. We will not allow IDOC to continually disregard its constitutional obligations,” added Alan Mills, counsel with Uptown People’s Law Center.
The prison has agreed to call a Gender Identity Committee within 60 days to assess and determine her permanent placement.