Case

Hampton v. Illinois Department of Corrections

Retaliation

Strawberry Hampton is a 27-year old transgender woman currently incarcerated within the Illinois Department of Corrections. Ms. Hampton has spent her entire sentence in men’s prisons, where she has survived numerous sexual assaults and received constant harassment and threats. IDOC officials have consistently refused to acknowledge Ms. Hampton’s gender identity and have repeatedly and deliberately placed her in environments detrimental to her physical, mental and emotional health.

 

Filed - November 29, 2017

Officers have sexually harassed her, threatened her, and subjected her to verbal and physical abuse.

 

Prison guards also have made it clear they will not protect her from prisoners who seek to do her harm: on one occasion, guards stood by and allowed a prisoner on the yard to expose his genitals and threaten to rape her.

Case Developments

Federal judge in southern Illinois ordered state prison officials to re-evaluate Hampton’s previously denied request for transfer. The judge also mandated Ms. Hampton be allowed to attend a transgender support group and ordered IDOC to develop training on transgender issues for all staff.

Following the court granting the motion to amend, a new complaint was filed that includes more recent abuse, harassment and neglect that has occurred and continues to occur while Ms. Hampton is detained at Dixon Correctional Center.

For the third time, Ms. Hampton files for emergency relief from the courts. After each filing, IDOC transferred her and the emergency motions were withdrawn by her counsel. After each transfer, Ms. Hampton’s circumstances improved for a few days or weeks, but then deteriorated in violation of her constitutional rights.

At Dixon, prison officials continued their abuse and harassment of Ms. Hampton. In one instance, officers gave her a ticket and pepper sprayed her in the face while she rolled up into a ball on the floor and cried, then gave her another ticket for failing to cooperate with the officers.

After being transferred to Lawrence Correctional Center, guards continued to award Ms. Hampton false disciplinary tickets resulting in extended stay in extreme segregation. At the time of the filing, Ms. Hampton has spent over nine months in solitary confinement, being kept alone in her cell 24 hours a day, with only occasional permission to leave her cell to take a shower.  She was denied mental health treatment and as a result attempted suicide multiple times while in segregation.

A settlement was reached with the IDOC to immediately remove Ms. Hampton from her dangerous environment at Menard Correctional Center and transfer her to Lawrence Correctional Center, a medium security men’s prison, while awaiting a hearing of IDOC’s Gender Identity Disorder Committee to evaluate her permanent placement. Plaintiff retains right to pursue future legal action if necessary.

A settlement was reached with the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) to immediately remove Ms. Hampton from her dangerous environment and transfer her to Lawrence Correctional Center, a medium security men’s prison, while awaiting a hearing of IDOC’s Gender ID Committee to evaluate her permanent placement. Plaintiff retains right to pursue future legal action if necessary.

While in custody at Pinckneyville Correctional Center, Ms. Hampton was the victim of a series of sexual assaults in which a group of officers came to her cell, ordered her to strip to her underwear and forced her to perform sexual acts with her cellmate for the officers’ entertainment.

These same officers continued to sexually harass and physically abuse her.  Officers withheld support services, basic privileges and even a regular shower. She was denied food and she lost 35 pounds. She continued to file multiple grievance reports detailing her abuse, but none were acted upon. Instead, she continued to be punished for speaking out, accumulating so many false disciplinary tickets that she was transferred to Menard Correctional Center, a high security men’s prison.

After being transferred to Menard, Ms. Hampton’s abused by guards continued, her complaints to mental health staff was ignored, and she was immediately sent to solitary confinement. Due to the amount of retaliatory disciplinary tickets she had accumulated, she was sentenced to an extended stay in segregation.

Ms. Hampton was transferred to Menard Correctional Center, a high security men’s prison, because she reported the guards who routinely sexually harassed and physically abused her at Pinckneyville. Menard officials began abusing Ms. Hampton in retaliation before she even set foot on the premises, beating and choking her on the bus ride to the prison. While housed at Menard, officers continued to harass and abuse her, including making her perform sexually in her cell for their entertainment.

 

Strawberry Hampton

With the support of my family I’m finding the strength to fight for my own life. I want my fight to help protect all the other transwomen locked up in IDOC. Life is hell for all of us in here.