Prisons Treat Transgender Inmates Like Shit — This Lawsuit Could Change That

A judge in Maryland has forced prison officials to overhaul their treatment of transgendered inmates, after a transgender prisoner reported repeated sexual abuse at the hands of correctional officers in a maximum-security prison.

News Story (Maryland)

Avi Asher-Schapiro
September 25, 2015

Tags: LGBTQ, Prisoners Rights, Solitary Confinement

Organizations mentioned/involved: FreeState Justice (MD)


Transgender advocates are calling it a landmark case that puts prisons on notice, and shines a light on the nearly 40 percent of transgender inmates who report experiencing sexual assault or abuse while incarcerated.

“Transgender prisoners are unfathomably at risk for sexual abuse,” Chris Daley, Deputy Executive Director at Just Detention International, an advocacy group that works to end sexual abuse in detention, told VICE News. “It’s a crisis”

The Maryland case focused on Sandy Brown, a 40-year-old transgender woman serving a 5-year sentence for assault, who was sent to Maryland’s Patuxent prison in February 2014 for a psychological screening. Guards at the facility referred to Brown as “it” and “some kind of animal” — they repeatedly mocked her body, gawked at her in the shower, and one guard encouraged her to commit suicide.