A incarcerated man, who identifies as a transgender woman, has filed a lawsuit in a federal district court against the Massachusetts Department of Correction (“DOC” or “the department”) alleging multiple civil rights violations arising from the department’s refusal to place him in an all-female prison.
The inmate, who is identified in the lawsuit under the pseudonym Jane Doe, is currently serving a three to five year sentence for a non-violent drug offense. His lawsuit, crafted by GLAD attorneys, claims the “Defendants have undermined Jane Doe’s ability to live as a woman, have punished her for attempting to do so, and have refused to provide reasonable accommodations for her diagnosed condition. They have traumatized her by forcing her to live in a male correctional facility, subjecting her to strip searches by male correctional officers, forcing her to shower in view of male prisoners who inappropriately comment on her female breast development and otherwise harass her, and refusing to address or refer to her using female pronouns.” The complaint additionally alleges Doe was told he “could not be transferred to the women’s prison until [he] has genital surgery” and that the department has “yet to allow [him] to receive this surgery.”
GLAD asserts “MA DOC has incorrectly housed [Doe] in an all-male facility,” conveniently ignoring the fact that placing a male inmate in an all-female facility would violate the civil rights of every woman incarcerated there under the UN’s Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
The complaint seeks injunctive relief in the form of a transfer from MCI-Norfolk (a men’s facility) to MCI-Framingham (a women’s facility), to force the DOC to “treat Jane Doe the same as other women held by the DOC,” refer to Doe using only a “female name” and pronouns, to grant Doe “separate shower time without the presence of men,” to “only allow strip searches of Jane Doe to be conducted by female correctional officers,” to “provide Jane Doe access to preventative healthcare, including mammograms,” and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of action.