Judge: Illinois Prison Officials Must Read Hearing Evidence

She is concerned the state agency is not taking the plaintiffs' complaints seriously

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A district judge has ordered three Illinois prison officials to read transcripts from a lawsuit that accuses the state prison system of mistreating transgender people, saying she is concerned the state agency is not taking the plaintiffs' complaints seriously.

U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Rosenstengel also ordered the Illinois Department of Corrections to revamp its procedures dealing with transgender people, including training for employees and avoiding cross-gender strip searches. Prison officials are expected to submit a progress report by Jan. 22.

The 2018 lawsuit was filed on behalf of at least five transgender women.

“The court notes that no (corrections) representative attended any portion of the two-day preliminary injunction hearing. Because the court is concerned that IDOC is not taking plaintiffs’ allegations in this lawsuit seriously, the court orders each named defendant shall read the transcript of the evidentiary hearing, held on July 31-Aug. 1," the order reads.

State officials have made no public comments on the judge’s order.

The judge ordered the prison officials to certify to the court by Thursday that they had read the transcript, The News-Gazette reported.

The plaintiffs testified to a long list of woes during the hearing, detailing years of mental health problems, including schizophrenia and depression, suicide attempts and self-mutilation, and frustration about being groped by fellow inmates and guards.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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