January 6, 2015

Protecting Trans Prisoners

LeslieAnn Manning, a transgender woman in a male facility, says she was raped because her prison didn’t keep her safe. How should prisons protect their most vulnerable inmates?

January 6, 2015 - Slate - LeslieAnn Manning has been living as a ward of New York state for 24 years. Since entering prison in 1991 after being convicted of attempted murder for firing a gun at a police car in a traffic-stop-turned-chase, Manning, a transgender woman, has grown her hair long, legally changed her name, undergone hormone replacement therapy, and secured the right to wear feminine underwear beneath her prison uniform. Though all of these things put her at heightened risk of sexual assault in prison, Manning was housed in a men’s facility—the Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, New York.* At Sullivan, Manning says she was assigned a job typing letters and making coffee for disabled inmates in a poorly supervised area, where inmates moved freely with little staff oversight, and where sex offenders often gathered for program meetings and sometimes lingered to hang out. In February of 2013, Manning says that the job required her to deliver some paper to another prisoner, who was sitting alone in a room at the end of a hallway. When she arrived, she says he grabbed her by the neck, raped her, and threatened to kill her if she told. On Monday, Manning filed suit against several Sullivan officials, alleging that the prison violated her constitutional rights by failing to take adequate steps to protect her from rape.

Read more in Slate.