Health and Safety

Filed - May 14, 2019

Tay Tay v. Illinois Department of Corrections


A transgender woman currently housed at Danville Correctional Facility, a medium security men’s prison, has filed a federal lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) after being repeatedly subjected to sexual harassment and assault by both prisoners and IDOC staff. The complaint has been filed anonymously under the name “Tay Tay,” at the request of the plaintiff for fear of threats and retaliation.

For over 15 years, Tay Tay has consistently raised concerns about her physical safety that were ignored and even reinforced by IDOC personnel.  IDOC employees have repeatedly targeted her with vulgar slurs, ignored direct requests for help, and actively stood by while she was being physically and sexually assaulted by other prisoners.

This case illustrates IDOC’s policy of disregarding gender dysphoria and assigning placement and housing decisions entirely on the gender assigned at birth. This policy is in direct contrast to the policies and best practices put forth by the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Because IDOC receives federal funds, Illinois prisons are required to adhere to PREA standards and make individualized determinations of housing when it comes to transgender prisoners, which must include serious consideration for the prisoner’s safety.

The complaint requests that Tay Tay be transferred to Logan Correctional Center, a women’s prison, and placed in general population.

Case Developments

  • Court Orders Individual Safety Plan — 

    Federal court judge ordered IDOC to within 21 days develop an individualized case management plan for Tay Tay that takes into consideration her need for safety, her past history of victimization, her medical and psychiatric history, all PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) standards, and the expert witness opinions.

    May 1, 2020
  • Clemency Petition & Letter in Support of Clemency — 

    After the Illinois Prisoner Review Board’s hearing on Tay Tay’s clemency petition, we sent out a letter in support of her petition, which includes 40 signatories.

    We are continuing to fight for her executive clemency.

    March 18, 2020
  • Lawsuit against IDOC for Ongoing Sexual Abuse & Retaliation — 

    On behalf of our client Tay Tay, a transgender woman, we filed a federal lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). As a result of the IDOC’s systemic failure to keep trans women in custody safe from sexual violence, Tay Tay has survived attacks, threats and constant harassment.

    May 14, 2019