A trans woman prisoner says she feels ‘safe’ after being transferred to a women’s prison in Illinois.
Deon ‘Strawberry’ Hampton was granted a transfer after successfully suing the Illinois Department of Corrections.
She describing being treated like a ‘sex slave’ while interned in various male prisons.
Speaking to the media for the first time since her transfer, Hampton spoke about her relief about the transfer.
‘At the end of the day, I’m safe here, I feel good,’ Hampton said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
‘I don’t have to worry about someone trying to attack me for being a woman.’
‘The women here accepts me all the way. When I’m walking down the hall, everybody hug me, everybody scream my name. They treat me like a regular woman,’ Hampton said.
A rare success story
Prior to her transfer, Hampton had served almost half of her 10-year sentence in several male prisons.
During this time, she claimed to have suffered sexual and physical abuse from both other inmates and prison guards.
She filed multiple lawsuits against the state in order to transfer to a female prison, with the court battle lasting over a year.
In a rare move, her request was granted.
A judge also ruled that all prison staff in Illinois would have to undergo additional training on trans issues following her lawsuit.
Hampton has a number of ongoing lawsuits against prison officers who she claims either abused her or failed to protect her from abuse while she was housed in male prisons.
Struggling to accommodate trans inmates
Prisons in the US often struggle to adequately accommodate trans inmates, with prisoners segregated on their biological rather, than assigned, gender.
While legally permitted, it is highly uncommon for trans prisoners to serve their sentences in female prisons.
Studies have found that trans prisoners continue to suffer from high rates of physical and sexual abuse.
According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, one in four inmates reported being physically assaulted by inmates and/or staff, and one in five said they had been sexually abused.
Trans inmates have also seen their rights being rescinded under the tenure of US President Donald Trump.
This comes after several female inmates in Texas filed a federal lawsuit arguing that being incarcerated with trans inmates was a potential danger to other prisoners and violated privacy rights.
Trans rights advocates have condemned the moves, which they say amount to discrimination.
The White House also came under fire in October after a leaked memo from the Department of Health and Human Services said that the government planned to restrict the definition of sex to genitalia at birth.
Trans rights advocates said would ‘legally erase’ transgender people in the US.