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Trans woman who faced abuse in men’s prisons asks to be released

Patrick Kelleher April 24, 2019
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Strawberry Hampton, the trans inmate who was granted a rare transfer to a women's prison

Strawberry Hampton, a trans inmate in Illinois who was finally transferred to a women's prison in February this year. (MacArthur Justice Center)

A trans woman who experienced sexual, physical, mental and emotional abuse in men’s prisons in Illinois is asking to be released after her sentence was “unfairly extended.”

Strawberry Hampton spent over two years housed in four different men’s prisons in the United States where she allegedly experienced abuse from fellow inmates and officers. She has since been moved to a women’s prison.

Hampton allegedly complained about the abuse to officials but was met with harsh retaliation and ultimately had nine months added to her sentence, according to papers filed by her legal representatives to the state’s prisoner review board.

Her legal representatives, the MacArthur Justice Center, said that her original sentence ended in February and that she is now serving extra time.

Officers allegedly punished trans woman Strawberry Hampton by filing ‘false disciplinary charges’ against her

The papers allege that officers punished Hampton by filing “false disciplinary charges against her” that resulted in her sentence being prolonged.

Hampton—who was finally moved to a women’s prison in December of last year—is asking to be released as she argues that she has served her time.

The papers detail in-depth the alleged abuse Hampton suffered while serving time in four different men’s prisons in Illinois.

Her representatives claim that false tickets led to Hampton being moved to a high security men’s prison called Menard Correctional Center.

“Strawberry deserves to be free. She fought with strength and courage for over two years to be free from sexual violence and to have the IDOC recognize that she is a woman.”

– Vanessa del Valle of the MacArthur Justice Center

In December 2016, officers allegedly forced Hampton and another trans female inmate to have sex while they watched. These forced sexual acts continued for months.

After a lengthy legal fight, Hampton was moved to a women’s prison on December of last year.

Strawberry Hampton (Supplied by Uptown People’s Law Center)

Strawberry Hampton ‘should have been released by now’

“Housing Ms. Hampton in accordance with her gender identity is the bare minimum [Illionis Department of Corrections] can do,” legal papers say.

“Staff at Logan [the women’s prison Hampton is currently incarcerated in] struggle to adequately give her access to necessary mental health care.

“Logan may be more appropriate than the men’s prisons, and the only suitable prison to house Ms. Hampton, but it is still currently ill equipped to manage the needs of a transgender woman—especially someone who lives with recent trauma and a long history of abuse—due to inadequate training.”

They say that Hampton “should have been released by now” and only remains in custody due to “discriminatory policies and retaliatory discipline that robbed her of good time.”

“Strawberry deserves to be free. She fought with strength and courage for over two years to be free from sexual violence and to have the IDOC recognize that she is a woman,” said Vanessa del Valle of the MacArthur Justice Center.

“In return, she received repeated retaliation which unfairly extended her sentence for over nine months. She is being kept behind bars because she is a trans woman who survived unspeakable abuse and stood up for her rights.”

Related topics: anti-trans, Illinois, prison, sexual abuse, Strawberry Hampton, Trans, Transgender, US

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