Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-10-17
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Imprisoned trans woman seeks court order to protect her from assaults by guards
From a press release

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Illinois — The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center and the Uptown People's Law Center have asked the federal court for an emergency order to protect Strawberry Hampton ( incarcerated under the name Deon Hampton ) from further abuse and harassment at the hands of Illinois Department of Corrections ( IDOC ) employees. Ms. Hampton is a 26-year old transgender woman currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center. IDOC officials refuse to acknowledge that Ms. Hampton is a woman and insist on housing her in men's prisons, where she has been repeatedly sexually assaulted by correctional officers.

After she filed complaints against the officers who assaulted her, the officers retaliated against her by placing her in solitary confinement. Once placed in solitary, another group of officers attacked Ms. Hampton, and they continue to harass and threaten her on a daily basis.

While in custody at Pinckneyville Correctional Center, Ms. Hampton was the victim of a series of sexual assaults in which a group of officers came to her cell, ordered her to strip to her underwear and forced her to perform sexual acts with her cellmate for the officers' entertainment.

In response to her filing a complaint, guards wrote her false disciplinary tickets, sending her to solitary confinement for three months. These same officers continued to sexually harass and physically abuse her. During this time, she was denied her transgender support group, her phone privileges and, very often, even a shower. Officers withheld her food, and she lost 35 pounds. She continued to file multiple grievance reports detailing her abuse, but none were acted upon. Instead, she continued to be punished, accumulating so many false disciplinary tickets that she was transferred to Menard Correctional Center, a high security men's prison.

Having heard about her complaints against prison officers, Menard officials began abusing her in retaliation before Ms. Hampton even set foot on the premises, beating and choking her on the bus ride to Menard. Once at the prison, her complaint to mental health staff was ignored, and she was immediately sent to solitary confinement. Due to the amount of fraudulent disciplinary tickets she has, she is currently sentenced to solitary confinement until April 2018.

"Strawberry's story demonstrates the realities of prison life for many trans women," said Sheila Bedi, one of her attorneys. "At this moment, when countless women in the free world are coming forward to tell their stories of sexual abuse with the #metoo hashtag, Strawberry has been thrown into solitary confinement and subjected to further abuse for speaking her truth about sexual violence. The 'me too' movement must create space for imprisoned survivors of sexual abuse. Our hope is the court will take immediate action to protect her, and will house her with other women where she can be protected from further abuse."

Adding to the punishment of prolonged isolation was the abhorrent condition of the cell itself. The walls were covered in urine and feces, and lacked running water or a mattress, forcing Ms. Hampton to rely on a thin, molded foam pad. Denied cleaning supplies for a month, she was forced to live and sleep in filth.

"Correctional officers control every aspect of her life and in reporting her abusers, Strawberry demonstrated incredible bravery, said Vanessa del Valle, counsel for the plaintiff. "Once they learned of her complaints, instead of protecting Ms. Hampton, prison officials tried to silence and punish her. Not only that, but IDOC has repeatedly discriminated against her because she is a trans woman, denying her access to programming and services. These clear-cut violations of her federal rights require urgent action."

One occasion, officers flooded her cell, called her derogatory slurs, and then physically beat her, all while their Lieutenant watched. When she simply tried to hang dry her sheets, she was given a disciplinary ticket and her bedding was confiscated. When she finally received sheets a month later, they were unwashed, filthy and smelled. On another occasion, she was placed in an infirmary cell with another prisoner with a known high aggressive level, who proceeded to beat her. Officers stood by, and even encouraged, the assault.

"Illinois prisons are violent places where coercion and the use of force by guards are routine. But even viewed against this background, the treatment of Strawberry was nothing short of barbaric. Gendered bigotry should not be tolerated anywhere in society, but least of all in our prisons, which are supposed to be places of law, " said Alan Mills of the Uptown People's Law Center, co-counsel on the case.

The lawsuit requests Ms. Hampton be transferred to Logan Correctional Center, a women's prison, to serve the remainder of her sentence in general population. In addition to holding accountable the specific officers who carried about the abuse, the lawsuit also names James Baldwin, director of the IDOC, and Jaqueline Lasbrook, warden of Menard, for not only allowing such practices to occur but, through deliberate indifference, effectively sanctioning them.

The suit details violations of the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments and the Illinois Hate Crimes Act. The suit also claims violations of Title IX and Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Person Act owing to her forced segregation depriving her of attending education, support or religious opportunities.

The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center was founded in 1985 and is one of the premier civil rights law firms in the United States, with offices in Chicago; St. Louis; New Orleans; and Oxford, MS.

Uptown People's Law Center ( UPLC ) is a nonprofit legal services organization specializing in prisoners' rights, Social Security disability, and tenants' rights and eviction defense. UPLC has seven pending class action lawsuits against the Illinois Department of Corrections.

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Report: Trump may remove transgender rights from federal civil rights law 2018-10-21 - The Trump administration is considering defining gender on the basis of genitalia at birth—which would surely rescind protections of transgender people under federal ...

Gay News

IDOC sued on behalf of Black & Pink for censoring free speech of LGBTQ prisoners 2018-10-18 - Chicago, IL ( October 18, 2018 ) — Today, attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Chicago chapter of Black & Pink, ...

Gay News

Legislation Would Expand Care for LGBT Elders, People With HIV 2018-10-18 - [New York, NY] — Yesterday, D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced first-of-its-kind legislation to better protect and support LGBT elders and older people living ...

Gay News

Jury awards Wis. trans women $780K 2018-10-17 - In Madison, Wisconsin, a jury awarded $780,000 to two transgender state employees who were denied insurance coverage of transition surgeries, The Milwaukee Journal ...

Gay News

PFLAG conference Nov. 10 in suburb 2018-10-17 - The PFLAG Council of Northern Illinois is hosting a day-long PFLAG Conference on Saturday, Nov. 10, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., at Southminster Presbyterian Church, ...

Gay News

Attorney General Lisa Madigan opposes HUD's suspension of fair housing rule 2018-10-17 - Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan, along with 16 other attorneys general, today urged the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ( ...

Gay News

Gay juror recounts Van Dyke trial experience 2018-10-17 - Early in September, Chicagoan Will Harpest was reading a New York Times article about Mayor Rahm Emanuels' decision not to run for re-election. ...

Gay News

First out gay male Chicago police officer on family, career, volunteering 2018-10-17 - Retired Chicago Police Department ( CPD ) officer Ronald Bogan saw it all during his three decades on the force. This includes a ...

Gay News

Legal Council for Health Justice marks three decades with gala 2018-10-16 - Legal Council for Health Justice ( LCHJ ) celebrated 30 years with a gala at Venue West on Oct. 13. Formerly named the ...

Gay News

WORLD Another bakery case, Austrian marriage, Mapplethorpe situation 2018-10-16 - Britain's highest court ruled that a Northern Irish bakery's refusal to make a cake bearing a pro-gay slogan was not discriminatory in a ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.