Transgender inmate sues for transfer to female Illinois prison

A transgender inmate in southern Illinois is suing to be transferred to a women’s prison after allegedly suffering 15 years of abuse from prisoners and staff.

In a lawsuit filed by the MacArthur Justice Center and Uptown People’s Law Center, an anonymous inmate named “Tay Tay” alleges that the Illinois Department of Corrections has failed to keep her safe at the Danville Correctional Facility, a medium-security men’s prison.

“As a result of the IDOC’s systemic failure to keep trans women in custody safe from sexual violence, Tay Tay has survived attacks, threats and constant harassment,” one of the plaintiff’s lawyer, Sheila Bedi of the MacArthur Justice Center, said in a statement.

The lawsuit alleges that Tay Tay’s previous report of a prison rape was disregarded, and that IDOC Internal Affairs allegedly threatened her with solitary confinement if she filed another complaint.

Tay Tay first requested transfer to a women’s prison in 2012, but has instead been moved to four different men’s facilities, the Uptown’s People’s Law Center said in a statement. She is requesting to be transferred to the Logan Correctional Facility, a women’s prison about 30 miles northeast of Springfield.

A spokesperson for IDOC did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Last year, a transgender woman, Strawberry Hampton, was transferred to a women’s prison after a year-long legal fight over her placement in a men’s prison.