Transgender inmate asks Illinois gov. for clemency after retaliation

CHICAGO — A transgender woman who had to sue to be transferred to a women’s prison is now asking Gov. J.B. Pritzker for clemency. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on Thursday that Strawberry Hampton had asked the governor for clemency, alleging abuse from guard and retaliation for complaining about the abuse. Strawberry Hampton sued department of to be moved in 2018. She had requested the move for more than a year, but the IDOC rejected the pleas and kept her at men’s prisons. 

The MacArthur Justice Center and the Uptown People’s Law Center filed the first in a series of federal lawsuits in 2017 seeking an order to protect Strawberry Hampton from repeated sexual assaults and harassment by correctional officers. In November 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Rosenstengel ordered IDOC to re-evaluate its denial of Hampton’s request for transfer to a women’s prison, and ordered IDOC to develop training on transgender issues for all staff.

ACLU of Illinois say transgender medical care inadequate at Illinois prisons

CHICAGO —Five transgender women prisoners are suing the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) because of inadequate medical care. The ACLU of Illinois is representing the women, the organization said in a press release. It said that transgender prisoners in Illinois are at risk because of inadequacies in the medical care offered to prisoners with gender dysphoria by the IDOC. “Because IDOC has not given me the treatment I need, my gender dysphoria has gotten worse. I feel depressed, hopeless, and suicidal,” said Janiah Monroe, a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

LGBT advocates urge Eleventh Circuit to uphold lower court ruling to provide medical care to transgender woman in Florida prison

TALLAHASSEE — Late Wednesday, eleven LGBT advocacy and legal services organizations filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit urging the court to uphold the district court ruling in a case brought by The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Florida, and global law firm DLA Piper LLP on behalf of Reiyn Keohane, a transgender woman incarcerated in a Miami prison who was denied medically necessary care by the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC). Last August, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled that it was medically necessary for the DOC to continue Ms. Keohane’s hormone therapy and to provide her the ability to socially transition in prison, in that she must be permitted access to the same clothing and grooming standards as other incarcerated women. In the friend-of-the-court brief filed , LGBT advocates argue that the Eleventh Circuit should affirm the lower court ruling that the Florida Department of Corrections “freeze-frame policy” that denied Ms. Keohane’s medically necessary treatment violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. The brief explains that being able to live in accord with one’s gender identity is medically necessary for transgender people, as recognized by many other courts and by the medical community, including the American Medical Association and World Professional Association for Transgender Health. The brief elevates the voices and experiences of transgender men like Ky Peterson and transgender women like Ashley Diamond, Jessica Hicklin, and Zahara Green all who suffered because they were denied the ability to socially transition in prison.

Federal court and monitor to oversee overhaul of unconstitutional health care in Illinois prisons

CHICAGO – Just days before the opening of trial in Lippert v. Baldwin – a case challenging the inadequate and dismal quality of health care provided in Illinois prisons – the parties reached an agreement to resolve the case. The agreement, which is embodied in a consent decree and must be approved by the court, is the latest development in a case first filed as an individual complaint in 2010. As part of the decree, which was filed in court today, the State of Illinois has agreed to a court-approved monitor who will oversee a complete overhaul of the system for providing physical health care to some 40,000 state prisoners.  The State and the monitor will create a staffing plan for health care professionals in Illinois’ prisons, a plan that addresses the number of medical and dental professionals needed at these facilities, as well as an implementation plan for numerous other system-wide reforms.  The agreement contains specific, detailed professional qualifications for physicians and also calls for improvements to health care space and equipment, for new staff dedicated to oversight and infection control, for the implementation of an electronic medical record system, and for the development of a stringent quality assurance program, so that the system can identify and address problems in the delivery of health care before they cause problems for patients. In the course of pursuing this lawsuit, two court-appointed experts (reporting four years apart) found serious and profound problems in the health care provided in Illinois’ prisons. The most recent report – made public just last month – blamed the poor system for preventable deaths inside Illinois facilities.