Michigan transgender woman claims jail staffers forced her into cell with rape convict who raped her within hours
JACKSON, MICHIGAN: A transgender female prisoner has filed a lawsuit suing the Michigan Department of Corrections’ staff members as they allegedly put her into a cell with a rape convict who raped her within 24 hours. The suit was filed on Tuesday, March 2, in US District Court, which stated that the prisoner identified as Jane Doe had a “medical detail prohibiting her housing with a non-gender dysphoric cellmate” at the G Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, which was ignored by jail staff. They reportedly knowingly gave her housing in January 2020 with “a known rapist and murderer imprisoned for life for killing a woman during sexual intercourse.”
The plaintiff’s repeated requests were ignored and the document explained that Doe was even warned by a corrections officer who threatened to write a misconduct ticket and place her in disciplinary segregation in spite of the cellmate “intimating that he was going to harm Plaintiff and warning ... that it would be better for her to go to the hole." The suit added that the transgender woman talked to several staff members at the jail regarding her concern, but no one “took any steps to protect Plaintiff despite knowledge of threatened harm and risk of assault”. Again and again, she was threatened with disciplinary segregation. Besides, it has been claimed that jail officials made fun of her and refused to provide any help.
"Plaintiff had no choice but to enter the cell as receiving misconduct tickets can have substantial adverse effects on a prisoner including loss of privileges, housing in solitary confinement, escalation of security level and negative effects on parole opportunities," the lawsuit said. The same night she faced "forcible penetration”. After the rapist went to sleep, she requested help and was taken to a hospital for treatment. But after the attack, instead of providing her protection, Doe’s security level was allegedly increased from level 2 to level 4, "even though the plaintiff had not engaged in any misconduct."
The plaintiff’s miseries did not end there as five days after the first attack, she was forced to share a cell with another convicted rapist, who "pressured plaintiff to expose her genitals," the suit claimed as reported by Detroit Free Press. The document added, “That night, Plaintiff awoke to her cellmate sexually assaulting her. Shortly thereafter Plaintiff transferred from the facility. Plaintiff, having suffered rape and sexual assault, became depressed and suicidal.”
The suit, which has sought compensatory damages and punitive damages, alleged that the jail officials failed to comply with the Eighth Amendment since they did not protect the plaintiff and “acted with deliberate indifference by knowingly and recklessly disregarding the excessive risk to Plaintiff’s health and safety, of which they were aware, resulting in Plaintiff’s sexual assault.”
Meanwhile, Nakisha Chaney, an attorney who represents the transgender woman in the case, issued a statement that stated, “prisoners, regardless of their gender identification or sexuality, have a constitutional right to be safe from sexual abuse. MDOC failed to follow its own policies, clear national guidelines, and the housing plan that applied to our client. As a result, our client was raped.”