Sandy Brown, a transgender inmate incarcerated in the Patuxent Insitition in Jessup, Maryland, won her lawsuit last Thursday against prison officials, the first successful suit a transgender individual has won against a correctional facility for Prison Rape Elimination Act violations in the country.
Judge Denise Shaffer ruled in favor of Brown’s claim that officials at the prison failed to comply with national standards for the protection of inmates from sexual abuse, according to the Washington Times.
According to Brown, who was serving a five-year sentence for assault, prison officials called her “some kind of animal”, watched her shower, and encouraged her to kill herself in 2014 during her 66 days in solitary confinement.
“She told me I should kill myself, and that I’m not a woman, that I’ll never be her,” Brown said of a corrections officer who regularly harassed her, according to the article.
This led to Brown filing a complaint in April against Patuxent seeking$75,000 in damages.
Shaffer order the Maryland prison to pay Brown $5,000 in restitution for denying her recreational activities. The court also ruled that prisons in the state must put in place new policies for transgender inmates which include strip searches, housing, and guard interactions. The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services adopted the judge’s ruling earlier this month, requiring prisons in the state of Maryland to establish the new transgender policies.