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Lawsuits & Litigation

Black Transgender Inmate Sues Georgia Department of Corrections

— November 25, 2020

Ashley Diamond says she has been assaulted no fewer than 14 times in the past year, by inmates and prison guards alike.

A Black transgender woman has filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Corrections, claiming the agency’s inaction has led to her suffering repeated abuses, including sexual assault and the denial of health care.

According to CBS News, the lawsuit was filed Monday by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is the second complaint to be filed against the state Department of Corrections by Ashley Diamond, who settled a similar case in the 2016.

Diamond, adds CBS, was released from prison in 2015.

However, she was sent back behind bars last year due to a parole violation.

In the twelve months she has been imprisoned, Diamond claims to have been assaulted more than 14 times by other inmates as well as facility staff. In her lawsuit, Diamond says she has been subjected to sexual harassment and has been denied “necessary treatment” for her gender dysphoria.

Image via Pexels/Pixabay. (CCA-BY-0.0)

The lack of treatment, recalls the lawsuit, led to Diamond unsuccessfully attempting to commit suicide.

Among Diamond’s biggest complaints is the fact that she has been incarcerated in an all-male facility on the basis of her biological sex, despite identifying as a woman.

“Being a woman in a men’s prison is a nightmare,” Diamond said in a statement. “I’ve been stripped of my identity. I never feel safe. Never. I experience sexual harassment on a daily basis, and the fear of sexual assault is always a looming thought. I’m bringing this lawsuit to bring about change on behalf of a community that deserves the inherent dignity to simply exist.”

Diamond’s 2015 lawsuit, says CBS News, related to the Georgia Department of Corrections’ “freeze-frame” policies for transgender inmates. Such policies only allowed detainees to continue treatment for gender dysphoria after receiving their sentences; they also prohibit the initiation of any new treatment regimes.

In her suit, Diamond says she was not allowed to take the same hormonal supplements she has been receiving since she was a teenager.

The Department of Justice later found Georgia’s “freeze-frame” policies unconstitutional and in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The state settled with Diamond in 2016 for an undisclosed amount.

Chinyere Ezie, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, says that Diamond’s experience represents a particularly unpleasant form of “déjà vu.”

“Suing to hold Georgia accountable for its abuse of trans people is the worst kind of déjà vu, because Ashley Diamond has been down this road already,” Ezie said in a statement. “Ashley won so many rights for trans prisoners with her lawsuit in 2015, it’s shocking and horrific to see that five years later incarcerated trans people are still being sexually assaulted, denied necessary medical care, and left to perish. We hope with this lawsuit, the cruel and unusual treatment stops today.”


Back in Prison, Transgender Woman Faces an Old Horror, Sexual Assault

Transgender inmate sues Georgia prison officials over alleged assaults

A transgender woman sues the Georgia Department of Corrections over allegations of sexual assault by inmates and staff

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