Skip to main content

Monroe v. Jeffreys

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.

In April 2019, Ms. Monroe was moved to Logan prison, a women's prison in Illinois!

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

Status: Active

Case Number: 19 C 1060


Transgender prisoners are almost never housed according to their identity, an investigation found.
That’s putting many in danger.

When recent news reports revealed that a number of Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) staff maintained a private Facebook group they used to dehumanize, taunt and degrade transgender prisoners and people of color, we were not surprised.

More than a dozen correctional employees in Illinois are under investigation after they were accused of mocking transgender inmates in private Facebook groups, state officials said.

Illinois Department of Corrections officials this week approved the transfer of a transgender inmate from an all-male prison to a women’s prison after she repeatedly claimed she’d been the victim of sexual harassment and abuse.

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.

  • Access to Justice
  • Susan Crown
  • Alvin H Baum Family Fund
  • kirkland & Ellis
  • EJW logo