Judge issues landmark ruling in favor of trans inmate

An administrative judge has issued a landmark ruling in favor of a transgender woman who claimed guards at a Maryland prison taunted and humiliated her.
News Story (Maryland)

Michael K. Lavers
Washington Blade (DC)
September 24, 2015

Tags: Prisoners Rights, Solitary Confinement

Organizations mentioned/involved: FreeState Justice (MD)


Brown further alleged officers on at least one occasion stared at her while she was taking a shower. “They treated me like a circus act,” she said in a statement that FreeState Legal, a Baltimore-based LGBT legal organization, released on Thursday.

“They treated me like a circus act. They gawked, pointed, made fun of me and tried to break my spirit.” Shaffer also ordered Patuxent Institution to pay Brown $5,000 in restitution.

“Ms. Brown, a transgender woman, was held in solitary confinement for 66 days just because she is transgender, and while she was there prison guards ridiculed her, encouraged her to commit suicide, and even pulled the shower curtain back so a group of corrections officers could look at her naked body as she showered,” said Rebecca Earlbeck, a FreeState Legal attorney who represented Brown. “She was so humiliated and afraid, she actually considered committing suicide.”

Brown is believed to be the first trans inmate to successfully challenge their treatment under the Prison Rape Elimination Act