Transgender inmate seeks rare transfer to female prison

Latest news

    A 26-year-old transgender woman serving a 10-year sentence in Illinois for burglary is seeking a rarely granted transfer to a female prison where she says she’ll be less vulnerable to the kinds of sexual assault, taunting and beatings she’s been subjected to in male prisons.

    Deon “Strawberry” Hampton describes in a lawsuit filed last year asking for the transfer how guards and fellow inmates would regularly single her out for brutal treatment at the high-security prison in southern Illinois, Menard Correctional Center, and earlier at Pinckneyville Correctional Center.

    A U.S. magistrate judge began a first-of-its-kind evidentiary hearing in Hampton’s case Friday in Benton, southeast of St. Louis, to help the court decide whether to order the transfer. The hearing, which will last several days, is focused on Hampton’s gender identity and on whether she could pose a risk to female inmates if moved.

    While at the Pinckneyville prison, she alleges that guards made her and another transgender inmate perform sex acts on each other as the guards hurled slurs and laughed. When she was transferred to the higher security Menard, she says guards there warned they would retaliate for complaints she made about Pinckneyville guards.

    Unable to comfortably represent herself as female in the male prison — where she can’t wear her hair or nails long — has also been devastating psychologically, said one filing from her lawyers at the Chicago-based MacArthur Justice Center and the Uptown People’s Law Center. “I feel inhuman,” Hampton was quoted as saying.

    While prison officials do have the option of assigning such male-to-female transgender inmates to women’s prisons — it happens infrequently. Federal data from 2016 indicates there were no transgender prisoners in Illinois’ two female prisons; there were 28 in the state’s 24 male prisons.

    Surveys support claims that transgender inmates are at greater risk of abuse.

    The latest available Justice Department data estimates there were over 3,200 transgender inmates in state and federal prisons as of 2012. And nearly 40 percent reported being victims of sexual misconduct by other inmates and guards — compared to around 4 percent of the general prison reporting such abuse.

    Some prisons and jails nationwide have faced similar legal challenges. Jennifer Picknelly, a transgender woman who in Massachusetts, sued a sheriff alleging she was mocked with anti-transgender slurs, extorted and raped while an inmate at a Hampden County jail for men in 2016. She recently agreed to drop the suit in exchange for a slightly earlier release.

    Having a court decide where to send Hampton and other transgender inmates “would directly interfere with the operations of the (department) in a situation where Plaintiff is merely attempting to manipulate the system,” Illinois Department of Corrections lawyers argued in a filing.

    The same state filing casts doubt, not only on Hampton’s accounts of abuse by guards, but on her gender identity — alleging that Hampton in initial sessions with prison health workers never claimed to be transgender and, in the words of the filing, “was ok with being male.”

    But a key witness for Hampton, clinical psychiatrist George Brown, said in a declaration to the court before Friday’s hearing that Hampton shows all the features of someone convinced of their identity as a female, saying Hampton has identified as female since the age of 5.

    He also challenged the department’s contention that Hampton is a greater risk to women because she hasn’t had sex reassignment surgery, saying such a view “conflicts with all reliable medical literature.” He added Hampton’s low testosterone levels due to previous hormone treatments meant she was “functionally chemically castrated.”

    A decision on the transfer request isn’t expected for several weeks.

    ———

    This version of the story corrects the word physiologically to psychologically in 5th paragraph.

    View the original article: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/transgender-inmate-seeks-rare-transfer-female-prison-52155821

    Original story is here : http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/transgender-inmate-seeks-rare-transfer-female-prison-52155821

    In the same category are

    Boy with autism who improved socially by running plans to finish marathon with mom Around this time last year, Wilfrin Hernandez-Cruz waited for his mother at the finish line of the New York City marathon.When his mom, Lisa Hernandez...
    “I don’t feel real”: Mental stress mounting after Michael Amy Cross has a hard time explaining the stress of living in a city that was splintered by Hurricane Michael. She's fearful after hearing gunshots at ...
    Vague childhood memories of pre-war London led to a remarkable Texas family reunion A family reunion decades in the making unfolded last week at the international arrivals terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.Th...
    Utah truck driver is jailed without bond after crash kills 6 A man suspected of driving under the influence remained jailed without bond Sunday in Utah after a crash killed six men in a pickup truck, authorities...
    Powerful cold front brings snow squalls, gusty winds to Midwest and Northeast A strong cold front brought snow squalls, gusty winds and some hail to parts of the Midwest on Saturday. Wind gusts close to 60 mph were reported from...
    30 injured when floor collapses at college party Dozens of people were injured early Sunday when a floor collapsed during a party at an apartment building near Clemson University in South Carolina.Th...

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.