A transgender woman in New York has reached a landmark settlement that could result in widespread changes in the treatment of LGBTQ people incarcerated in Broome County correctional facilities.
Makyyla Holland, a 25-year-old transgender woman, accused Broome County Jail correctional officers of abuse and discrimination during her six-week detention.
As a result of the $140,000 settlement reached on Thursday, Broome County will commit to implementing LGBTI Guidelines for Safe Confinement.
Holland’s complaint claimed that she was beaten, placed in a men’s housing unit, and denied access to health care.
Holland also alleged that she was “routinely harassed and misgendered” and that correctional staff “ignored her repeated pleas for help and for protection from the threats and sexual victimization to which they had exposed her.”
Holland was arrested on charges of criminal contempt and assault, according to the Facebook page of the Binghamton Police Department. She pleaded guilty to court contempt and was sentenced to time already served.
The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund reports that the criminal case against her has been resolved.
The Binghamton Police Department did not confirm further details.
New Guidelines Aim to Prevent Discrimination and Harassment
The new LGBTQ guidelines enforce zero-tolerance anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and safeguards for the privacy and safety of LGBTQ inmates in the presence of other inmates.
The policies are intended to rectify the practices that led to Holland’s alleged mistreatment, according to the guidelines.
“I’m pleased we were able to amicably reach a resolution that establishes clear LGBTI Guidelines, which were previously nonexistent, to address the rights of LGBTI inmates while maintaining the safety and security of individuals both housed and working at the Broome County Correctional Facility,” said Broome County Sheriff Fred Akshar.
He continued, “It’s another important step forward in pragmatically and safely modernizing policies to meet the needs of those we serve and protect as we work to build a better, safer community for everyone in Broome County.”
According to the Transgender Law Center, gender-nonconforming inmates are subjected to disproportionate violence and discrimination in U.S. correctional facilities compared to their non-LGBTQ counterparts.
This is especially true for people of color, such as Holland, according to the research conducted by the center.
For example, the Bureau of Justice Statistics discovered that transgender people in custody are sexually assaulted at ten times the rate of the general population in correctional facilities.
“This policy and policies like it can impact a lot of my community, and I will continue to fight to ensure that no other trans person in New York or anywhere has to endure what I did,” said Holland in a statement.
Source: abc NEWS