Failure to offer transgender prisoners with a secure setting or enough medical care constitutes merciless and strange punishment underneath the Eighth Modification, the U.S. Justice Division stated final week.
In a statement of interest filed within the case of Ashley Diamond, a Black transgender girl who sued the Georgia Division of Corrections in November, the Justice Division stated it isn’t taking a place on the information of Diamond’s case.
Nevertheless, the division famous that the Eighth Modification of the U.S. Structure “requires jail officers to conduct individualized assessments that result in moderately secure circumstances of confinement and enough medical look after all prisoners.”
“Jail officers violate the Eighth Modification’s prohibition towards merciless and strange punishment if they’re intentionally detached to circumstances of confinement that pose a considerable danger of great hurt to prisoners,” they stated, writing that not housing inmates in services that align with their gender id dangers such critical hurt.
Diamond has been sexually assaulted repeatedly within the final yr, in response to the November lawsuit. She additionally has been subjected to relentless sexual harassment and as soon as once more denied crucial remedy for her gender dysphoria, in response to the submitting.
She additionally stated in her criticism that the Georgia Division of Corrections failed to offer her with enough medical remedy for her gender dysphoria.
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“Up until now, there was grossly insufficient and unconstitutionally inadequate medical remedy supplied, which has led Ms. Diamond to expertise actually catastrophic signs [of] gender dysphoria for months on finish, with none reduction from corrections officers,” stated Chinyere Ezie, one in every of Diamond’s attorneys and senior workers legal professional on the Heart for Constitutional Rights.
Ezie additionally stated that since Diamond filed the lawsuit in November, she’s additionally been the sufferer of retaliation — her information have been tampered with and a collection of disciplinary experiences have pushed her launch date again a yr.
Diamond’s attorneys have requested in April court docket filings to order jail officers to maneuver her to a ladies’s jail and to offer her with crucial medical remedy for her gender dysphoria. A listening to on these requests is ready for subsequent month.
Ezie hopes that the assertion can be a “very persuasive authority for the court docket.”
“To our information, there has by no means been such a transparent assertion about jail officers’ obligations to transgender folks of their custody,” she stated. “It is going to be significant, not only for Ashley Diamond’s case, however to all people who find themselves trans and incarcerated who’re searching for simply the naked minimal of constitutional rights that they are entitled to.”
In 2015, Diamond alleged that the Georgia Division of Corrections had illegally lower off hormone remedy she had been taking for half her life. She additionally stated that she was sexually assaulted and mistreated multiple times by each inmates and jail guards.
The division modified its remedy coverage after the Division of Justice received concerned, writing in a quick that jail officers should give hormone remedy simply as they might deal with another medical or psychological well being situation.
The Georgia Division of Corrections launched Diamond on parole in August 2015 and reached a settlement in her lawsuit. She was returned to jail on a parole violation in October 2019.
Each instances, Diamond, now 43, has been positioned in a males’s jail. And lots of the remedy reforms solely existed on paper, in response to the Center for Constitutional Rights.
“Being a lady in a males’s jail is a nightmare,” Diamond stated in a November statement. “I’ve been stripped of my id. I by no means really feel secure. By no means. I expertise sexual harassment every day, and the concern of sexual assault is all the time a looming thought.”
Transgender folks have traditionally been focused for violence and abuse due to their gender id, in response to the Nationwide Heart for Transgender Equality.
Transgender persons are 10 instances extra prone to be sexually assaulted by their fellow inmates and 5 instances as prone to be sexually assaulted by workers, according to the NCTE.
Contributing: The Related Press