Judge: ‘Serious' Violations to Transgender Inmates' Rights

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A federal judge has noted “serious ongoing” violations to the rights of transgender prison inmates in Illinois which must be “immediately addressed.”

Chief Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel in southern Illinois said in a memorandum and order earlier this month that the Illinois Department of Corrections has made some changes ordered in 2019 following a class-action lawsuit. But correctional officers and other staff have not had any training in new procedures regarding transgender inmates.

“There are still serious violations of Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights happening every day,” Rosenstengel said. That includes delays in treating inmates and a failure to monitor the health of inmates receiving hormone therapy and properly adjusting the dosage.

Rosenstengel also noted a lack of appropriate medical are and more suicide attempts, more threats of suicide and ongoing harassment.

“Our clients have endured years of suffering, waiting for IDOC to simply provide basic health care,” said inmates' attorney attorney John Knight, LGBTQ & HIV Project Director at the ACLU of Illinois.

An Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman said the agency has “implemented a number of initiatives to improve the quality of transgender care” and “is committed to ensuring world class care for transgender individuals in custody.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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