Transgender inmate wins suit against Maryland prison officials

A transgender inmate who says guards called her an animal and encouraged her to kill herself has won a legal battle against Maryland prison officials in the first successful lawsuit of its kind against a U.S. correctional facility.

News Story (Maryland)

John Clarke
Reuters News Service
September 24, 2015

Tags: LGBTQ, Prisoners Rights, Solitary Confinement

Organizations mentioned/involved: FreeState Justice (MD)


In a decision that led Maryland prisons to adopt new policies about transgender inmates, Administrative Law Judge Denise Shaffer ruled in favor of Sandy Brown’s claim that prison officials at Patuxent Institution in Jessup, Maryland, failed to comply with national standards for the protection of inmates from sexual abuse, according to court documents.

Brown was serving a five-year sentence for assault when in 2014 she said she was placed in solitary confinement 24 hours a day for 66 days at Patuxent after a routine mental health screening, according to court records. She said guards watched her shower and encouraged her to commit suicide.

“They didn’t see me for the human being I am,” Brown, 40, said in a statement on Thursday. “They treated me like a circus act. They gawked, pointed, made fun of me and tried to break my spirit.”