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A transgender woman who complained of abuse when she was held in a men’s correctional facility in Illinois has been approved for transfer to a women’s facility, reports NBC News.
Lawyers for Strawberry Hampton, 27, announced her transfer to Logan Correctional Center, a women’s facility, on Dec. 27. Despite having begun transitioning at five years old, Hampton was placed in prison based on her assigned sex at birth.
Hampton claims that, since her incarceration nearly four years ago, she suffered abuse at the hands of staff and fellow prisoners at four different men’s facilities.
Hampton also alleges that when she was held at Pinckneyville Correctional Center, guards sexually assaulted her and forced her to have sex with her cellmate for their entertainment. As a result, she attempted suicide.
In December 2017, the MacArthur Justice Center and Uptown People’s Law Center in Illinois filed a series of federal lawsuits on Hampton’s behalf seeking a court order to protect her from abuse.
The Illinois Department of Corrections initially rejected her request for a transfer. In November 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Rosenstengel ordered the Illinois Department of Corrections to re-evaluate its denial of Hampton’s request.
Rosenstengel also ordered the Department of Corrections to develop sensitivity training on transgender issues for all staff.
While Hampton’s case has been resolved in a positive manner, the MacArthur Justice Center says the Illinois Department of Corrections has not done enough to remedy the “systematic failures” that have contributed and event exacerbated some of the abuse directed at transgender prisoners.
Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lindsey Hess told NBC News: “IDOC’s mental health professionals receive specialized training and ongoing consultation from a transgender expert. The development of training for all IDOC staff is underway.”
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