The transgender inmate, “Brandy,” is in jail for the following crimes: rape, sodomy and sex abuse.
From Oregon Live: A judge this week ordered the state to house a transgender female inmate in a cell separate from male inmates and to protect her from harassment.
The decision for inmate Brandy Hall is believed to be a first in Oregon at a men’s prison, both state officials and Hall’s attorney said.
It paves the way for other transgender inmates to make the same request unless the Oregon Department of Corrections creates an overarching housing policy for transgender and intersex prisoners, said attorney Tara Herivel.
Hall “is a woman in a male prison and I think at a very basic level, that is understood as being extremely dangerous and problematic by most people,” Herivel said.
“But this is an area where as we’re expanding our ideas as a culture of what gender identity is, it’s also really expanding in the legal arena and I think this is a very important first step.”
Hall filed a habeas corpus complaint in June 2018 challenging her incarceration at the Two Rivers Correctional Institution in Umatilla, contending the state was violating her constitutional rights by refusing to address physical and sexual harassment she endured.
She also sought to receive medical care via gender reassignment surgery and to be in a prison that corresponds with her gender identity.
An order Wednesday by Circuit Judge J. Burdette Pratt in Umatilla County calls for Hall to be housed either in a single cell, have a transgender cellmate or one who doesn’t identify as their sex assigned at birth.
The Corrections Department showed a “deliberate indifference” to Hall’s safety by placing her in a cell with male inmates, he said.
Since April, Hall, 34, has been at the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem, where she initially had a transgender woman as a cellmate but now has no cellmate. She first entered Two Rivers in 2009 and has had male cellmates.
Hall was convicted of sex crimes in 2007. She transitioned while in prison. Her earliest release date is in May 2021.
Hall was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a condition when people identify as a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth. Hall has presented as a woman since 2014 and has been on hormone therapy since 2016, according to court records.
One of the treatments for gender dysphoria is gender reassignment surgery, Hall’s complaint said. She was approved for the surgery by a corrections review committee last September, but the surgery hasn’t been arranged.
The judge said corrections officials “must do everything within their ability” to stop other inmates from verbally or sexually harassing Hall and to prevent staff from doing the same.
But Pratt also found that Hall didn’t prove the Corrections Department violated her constitutional rights. He stopped short of overturning the state’s decision to deny Hall’s request to be transferred to the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, the state’s only women’s prison.
The judge determined that prison officials weren’t indifferent to her safety in that instance because a Corrections Department committee that addresses the needs of transgender and intersex inmates considered her request and factored in Hall’s 2007 criminal convictions, which included sexual abuse of girls.
Read the whole story here.
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