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Transgender Inmate Prevails in Suit against Prison
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A transgender inmate has won a suit against a Maryland prison, causing the entire prison system in the state to implement new policies for transgender inmates.

Summary: A transgender inmate has won a suit against a Maryland prison, causing the entire prison system in the state to implement new policies for transgender inmates.

According to Yahoo! News, a transgender inmate has prevailed in a groundbreaking lawsuit against a correctional facility in Maryland.


The inmate, Sandy Brown, alleged that guards called her an animal and even encouraged her to commit suicide. The Boston Globe adds that Brown said of one corrections officer, “She told me I should kill myself, and that I’m not a woman, that I’ll never be her.”

Administrative Law Judge Denise Shaffer ruled in favor of Brown, noting that prison officials in Patuxent Institution in Jessup did not comply with national standards in place to protect inmates from sexual abuse. The ruling has led prisons in the state of Maryland to create new policies about transgender inmates.

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A transgender student has filed a lawsuit over his right to use the boys’ restroom.

Brown was serving a five-year sentence for assault. In 2014, she was moved to solitary confinement for 24 hours a day for 66 days after a standard mental health screening. According to Washington Times, guards ignored a directive from the jail warden, saying that she should not be segregated from the rest of the prison population. Brown stated that the guards watched her as she showered and told her to kill herself.

Brown said, “They didn’t see me for the human being I am. They treated me like a circus act. They gawked, pointed, made fun of me and tried to break my spirit.”

According to the Prison Rape Elimination Act, which is federal law, prisons must have clear policies and mandatory training for corrections officers that dictate how they must treat transgender inmates.

In Ireland, transgender individuals are allowed to easily change their gender statuses.

Judge Shaffer noted that Brown suffered sexual abuse through voyeurism. She also noted that federal guidelines had been ignored in her housing, and that she had been denied access to recreational activities.

Shaffer ordered the prison to establish new policies for transgender inmates relating to housing, guard interactions, and strip searches. Brown will also receive $5,000 in restitution from the prison since she was denied the chance to participate in recreational activities.

Brown filed the complaint in April, and requested $75,000 in damages due to the post-traumatic stress she suffered. The ruling was handed down in May.

The ruling was adopted by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services earlier this month.

A transgender woman alleged last year that Cabela’s discriminated against her.

Rebecca Earlbeck, Brown’s lawyer, said the case was the first of its kind, as it was the first occasion a transgender person prevailed in a legal dispute against prison officials for violations of the Prison Rape Elimination Act.



She said, “We believe this case creates a framework for enforcing the national standards that transgender people who are incarcerated in other states and their advocates can follow to help to ensure that others do not have to endure the pain and trauma Ms. Brown experienced.”

Source: Yahoo! News

Photo credit:, (Earlbeck)



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