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Trans inmate taunted and held in solitary for 66 days while prison decided whether she was female

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A trans woman named Sandy Brown spent 66 days in solitary confinement at a Maryland detention facility, during which she was subjected to taunting and humiliation by the staff.

“They didn’t see me for the human being I am; they treated me like a circus act,” Brown said. “I understand how animals at the zoo feel now. They gawked, pointed, made fun of me, and tried to break my spirit. These were people I’d never met, people I’d never done anything to.”

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Attorney Jer Welter told Think Progress that Brown’s hostile treatment by the Patuxent Institution — a mental health evaluation unit for Maryland inmates — violated protections guaranteed to inmates under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

This was the first successful prosecution of a case, Welter said, for a trans inmate filing suit under PREA.

“It’s a huge win,” he said.

Brown obtained Welter’s legal help through the FreeState Legal Project, an organization dedicated to providing legal assistance to low-income LGBT people.

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The Associated Press reported that Brown was released from solitary after a humiliating, months-long ordeal. Patuxent is considered a short-term stay facility, but the penal system’s reluctance to handle Brown as a female inmate meant that she was detained at the facility far longer than normal and kept away from other inmates.

“Ordinarily these evaluations take 30 days at most,” Welter told Think Progress. “Ms. Brown’s went much more quickly, but she remained there actually until she filed this complaint.”

Brown’s complaint said that her mistreatment began from the moment she arrived at Patuxent:

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When she was strip-searched upon arrival, a female officer searched the upper part of her body, then a male officer searched the lower part of her body.
She was held in administrative segregation solely because she is transgender.
Over the two months she spent confined as such, she was only allowed recreation once.
Patuxant employees repeatedly taunted and harassed her. Sergeant Dawn Halsey, in particular, referred to her as an “it,” told her that she was not a real woman, and that she should kill herself.
Correctional officers would stare in her cell to gawk and giggle at her, threaten her, and call her names, leaving her in tears.
On at least one occasion, officers pulled back a curtain to stare at her while she showered.

Welter said that abuse of inmates by corrections officials is expressly forbidden under PREA.

Administrative Law Judge Denise Oakes Shaffer ordered a list of changes at the Patuxent facility.

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“Patuxent must promulgate comprehensive policies and institute mandatory training regarding transgender inmates, in compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act,” the judge ordered. “These policies are to include guidance regarding: strip search procedures for transgender inmates; housing determinations for transgender inmates; and appropriate interaction between correctional officers and transgender inmates.”

Brown’s statement said that she hopes that these legal victories will give hope to other incarcerated trans women.

“To the other transgender and intersex women behind bars, don’t give up,” she said. “There is hope out there for us.”

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Rebecca Earlbeck, also of FreeState, told the AP, “This ruling forces the entire state corrections system to adopt a clear policy for the treatment of transgender inmates regarding searches, housing and interaction with transgender inmates. Just as importantly, the ruling also requires mandatory staff training on these policies.”


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Ex-prosecutor demands congressional investigation after latest report on the FBI and Brett Kavanaugh

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Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had another allegation of sexual misconduct revealed on Saturday in a bombshell report in The New York Times.

"A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly," the newspaper reported.

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Boris Johnson promises Britain will be like the Incredible Hulk during Brexit negotiations

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday he was making a "huge amount of progress" towards a Brexit deal with the EU, in an interview in which he compared Britain to the Incredible Hulk.

"It's going to take a lot of work between now and October 17" when EU leaders gather for their final summit before Britain's scheduled exit from the bloc, he told the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

"But I'm going to go to that summit and I'm going to get a deal, I'm very confident. And if we don't get a deal then we'll come out on October 31."

His comments came ahead of talks with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, in Luxembourg on Monday.

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NYT blasted for ‘spectacularly offensive sentiment’ after tweet illustrating ‘rape culture’

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The results of a 10-month investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh by New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly was published on Saturday.

But attention was taken away from the powerful reporting after the Twitter account of The Times opinion page posted a shocking message.

"Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun," read the tweet.

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