Keep Transgender Prisoners Out of Solitary Confinement

A Maryland judge recently ruled that the rights of Sandy Brown, who was kept in administrative segregation for 66 days, were violated under the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

News Story (Maryland)

Emily Zak
September 27, 2015

Tags: LGBTQ, Prisoners Rights, Solitary Confinement

Organizations mentioned/involved: FreeState Justice (MD)


Brown reports that guards harassed her, stared at her in the shower, referred to her as “it” and allowed her recreation time only once in two months. This was probably the first time the seven-year-old law successfully protected a trans prisoner.

“They didn’t see me for the human being I am; they treated me like a circus act,” Brown, who was serving a five-year sentence for assault, said in a statement quoted by ThinkProgress. “I understand how animals at the zoo feel now. They gawked, pointed, made fun of me, and tried to break my spirit. These were people I’d never met, people I’d never done anything to.”

Trans people are jailed nearly 20 times more frequently than their cisgender counterparts. For those of color, the situation is often worse. More than 40 percent of black individuals reported to a recent survey that they’d been held in a cell specifically because of their gender identity.