Woman held in male prison; her protests that she is female are ignored and mocked

In DC, a woman was held in the male detention unit, despite her protests that she was female, despite the fact that she was strip-searched, and despite the fact that a doctor declared her to be female. Officers mocked her and ignored her statements that she was female. She was also made to shower with male inmates. (This could go in the Pit, but it’s probably a little too RO)

From the Washington Post: D.C. to Fire 3 Over Woman’s Detention as a Man; Corrections Officers Ignored Inmate’s Protests Over Mix-Up During Arrest, Jail Processing (snippets below)

Although I have to admit that I am a little confused… The article said that a doctor determined her to be a female. But what the article did not specifically say is whether this determination was made due to the fact she had a vagina and not a penis, or what. The question that still remains, was she born with female genitalia but was transgendered and living as a man? Or was she born with male genitalia and had undergone sex-reassignment? Or something in between? And did she have breasts?

If she didn’t have a penis, and the doctor declared her to be female, then this is a huge mess up on the part of the DC police. It’s a huge civil rights violation. I just wish the article was more clear on what the confusion was. It shouldn’t matter that her face looked masculine, or that she dressed masculine…

However this does raise a question about how true transgendered people should be treated in jail. For example, if someone is a M to F transgendered person, and are living fully as a woman, but haven’t undergone the full sex-reassignment surgery yet (as in, they still have a penis), then do they go to the women’s or men’s prison?

I swear, the DC police (and Department of Corrections) could screw up a sunrise.

Very confusing. Now my brain hurts.

When the officer said “your identification says otherwise,” does this mean her driver’s license or whatever, or simply her internal jail identification? If her ID said “male,” that could lead to some confusion.

I don’t get the impression from the article that she’s transgendered. There was a problem with the translator and her being “belligerent and incomprehensible” when interviewed after her arrest. I can see how something could have literally been lost in the translation when interviewing a furious person. All it would take is her belligerently saying “Yeah, I’m a man!” and meaning it as sarcasm, but having the person translating it take the statement as factual. It’s stupid, but I can see it happening.

No kidding! :eek:

As far as I can feel sorry for a junkie hooker too dumb to know when to stop being belligerent to the wrong people, I’m glad those guys who obviously knew differently are being fired. There might be legitimate confusion for a transgender but that’s obviously an (ugly) woman. And certainly lesbian hookers should be locked up with their fellow women.

Her whole life is a mess. This contact with the system, however flawed, might get her some help.

In my line of work, I’ve met one pre-op MTF transsexual inmate. She was taking hormones, so she did have breasts. She was not my client, so I’m not sure what ultimately ended up happening to her, but she was being housed with the males. Most of them pretty much considered her to be a freak, and I know one of the other inmates in the room at the time was saying something about how God wouldn’t approve, but as far as I know she hadn’t been beaten or raped. She actually seemed to be in pretty good spirits–much better than I would have figured. I think she was saved by having a pretty good personality and a sense of humor–she was pretty much inherently likeable, and therefore most people couldn’t help but get along with her, even if they might have thought she was some sort of horrible abomination. It was very strange.

I would guess from her internal jail identification. According to the article, she was arrested on April 28, released on her own recognizance, and failed to show up for trial. She was then rearrested July 14 on drug charges. She was processed as a male both times. During her second arrest, even though she was examined by officers and hospital workers who thought her to be a woman, she was processed as a male based on the information from her April arrest.

I always wondered what happened to Alice the Goon.

I’m confused. Her picture doesn’t look like a male. I expected her to at least have short hair or something, but why was she first thought to be male? And if she was strip searched, shouldn’t that have cleared everything up?

I must offer up this thing I saw on TV many years ago, which I’m delighted to find on YouTube:

Women In Prison … with Bruce (NSFW)

Why, I’ve been right here all along.

Yeah, I think it would be a huge civil rights violation one way or another.

The whole thing is a gigantic nightmare, and I hear frequent reports of trans inmates being assaulted, raped, or worse. Approaches to the subject vary from no approach whatsoever to some sort of accommodation, with that being rather infrequent, as far as I can tell. Here’s some information.

This report from California says:

This Canadian paper from 1999 says:

Unfortunately, I’m not certain of the current situation, but suffice it to say that trans people in prison face very severe challenges.

BTW, here’s a link to a group from BC who did a coast-to-coast cycle tour last year to raise awareness of trans issues, after a friend of theirs, Alexandria Tucker, committed suicide after having been mistreated in a Montana prison – she had been arrested after she filed a domestic abuse complaint.

Sad, sickening and shocking. :mad: :frowning:

In New York, a gender determination is part of the reception process (assuming there’s a question). Prisoners are assigned to a prison based on what gender they are - not on what their legal gender of record is or on what their self-processed gender of belief is.

I don’t know any of the specifics of Soto’s case other than what I read in the linked article. It appears from that that she is a “normal” woman who was just run through a very shoddy classification. But it’s also possible that Soto is a transsexual who is in the middle of a sex reassignment. If that is the case then Soto might consider herself to be a woman even if she still has a penis - but in such a case she would most likely be sent to a male prison.

Yeah, this sounds bad, but I think we need to know more. I agree with Little Nemo.

I don’t know if I’m allowed to have an opinion about this stuff outside of Great Debates, but I think it’s probably not safe for a transgendered person of any variety to be in a male or female prison at all. Isn’t there some kind of “special needs” prison where people that don’t easily fit in with regular prisoners go, like celebrities?