In February 2019, UPLC and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of Janiah Monroe, a transgender woman who has been locked in men's prisons since she was 19 years old. For over a decade, Ms. Monroe has been subjected to sexual violence by correctional staff, as well as by other prisoners.
Ms. Monroe has attempted self-castration more than once, made several suicide attempts, and has repeatedly engaged in other forms of self-harm. The Illinois Department of Corrections knows that transgender women housed in men's prisons are at a very high risk of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and suicide, yet they have refused to even consider her for a transfer to a women’s prison.
Ms. Monroe is a long-time friend of UPLC, and our attorneys will continue to fight for her transfer to a women's prison.
Attorneys: Alan Mills, Elizabeth Mazur, Nicole Schult (Uptown People's Law Center), Sheila A. Bedi, Vanessa del Valle (Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center)
Date Filed: February 26, 2019
Court: U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
Judge: Judges Mihm and Hawley
Case Number: 19 C 1060
Lawyers for a transgender woman held at the Pontiac men's prison have filed a lawsuit asking that she be moved to a women's facility, and an end to alleged sexual assault and harassment she has experienced for a decade.
A transgender woman incarcerated at the Pontiac Correctional Center in central Illinois has filed a federal lawsuit seeking a transfer to a women’s prison. The Uptown People’s Law Center and the MacArthur Justice Center filed a federal suit Tuesday on behalf of 29-year-old Janiah Monroe, according to a statement from the UPLC.
“I have been sexually assaulted at every men’s prison that IDOC put me into, including by IDOC staff. It’s time for IDOC to recognize my gender and take responsibility for keeping me safe. As long as I’m in a men’s prison, IDOC can never protect me from sexual assault,” she said.