Well, it’s happened.
A man presenting as a woman is being sent to a previously all-female prison.
Deon Strawberry Hampton is serving a 10-year-sentence for burglary. A federal judge has approved the Illinois inmate’s transfer to a women’s penitentiary.
27-year-old Strawberry claims he’s endured years of sexual assault, taunting, and beatings at the male Big House.
He was moved this past week from his old prison bars in Dixon to all-new prison bars at the women’s Logan Correctional Center.
Vanessa del Valle, attorney for Strawberry, characterized the victory as one not only for Strawberry, but all transgender people. And the battle ain’t over:
“The fight for Strawberry and for all trans women in [Illinois Department of Corrections] has only just begun.”
In a statement Thursday, the IDOC explained that it had “carefully considered Hampton’s housing placement before making the transfer.” Furthermore, it is in ““100 percent compliance with the national standards” in order to protect prisoners from sexual abuse.
As for now, Strawberry is the only Illinois inmate serving in an opposite-sex prison. As of 2016, there were 28 men presenting as women in the state’s male detention centers.
Here’s more, from the Associated Press:
Unable to comfortably represent herself as female in the male prison — where she couldn’t wear her hair or nails long — was devastating psychologically, according to one filing from her lawyers.
“I feel inhuman,” Hampton was quoted as saying.
In court filings, the IDOC also cast doubt on Hampton’s gender identity — alleging Hampton in initial sessions with prison health workers never claimed to be transgender and, in the words of one filing, “was OK with being male.”
But clinical psychiatrist George Brown said in a declaration to a federal court that Hampton showed all the features of someone convinced of their female identity, adding Hampton has identified as female since the age of 5.
What of Strawberry’s sexual threat to female inmates? Psychiatrist Brown claims it’s nil:
Brown also challenged the department’s contention that Hampton could be a greater risk to women because she hasn’t had sex reassignment surgery, saying such a view “conflicts with all reliable medical literature.” He said Hampton’s low testosterone levels due to previous hormone treatments meant she was “functionally chemically castrated.”
Illinois isn’t the first state to create a co-ed prison; in April, New York’s Rikers Island was put on course to house inmates according to their gender identity, rather than their sex.
You know something’s really catching on when they start implementing it in prisons.
The world’s changing fast.
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