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Strawberry Hampton is a transgender woman who was exclusively held in men's prisons. Until 2018, Strawberry had never received any formal in-person reviews to determine her placement into a women's prison. As a transgender woman, Strawberry has faced endless harassment and abuse by both prisoners and IDOC staff. Correctional officers have sexually assaulted her, used her mental health status to place her in segregated conditions, and created false disciplinary reports to prolong her sentence. The discrimination and abuse that Hampton faces violates her Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Illinois Hate Crimes Act, and the Prison Rape Elimination Act. 

At the beginning of November 2018, the court granted our request for emergency relief to protect Strawberry from all the abuse and harassment she is enduring at the hands of prison staff and other prisoners. This is the first time the court has used a preliminary injunction to state that housing a trans woman in a men’s prison violates the Equal Protection Clause. This is also the first time a court has found that the type of verbal abuse and sexual harassment that Strawberry has endured as a trans woman can rise to the level of constituting unlawful discrimination. The court is requiring IDOC to develop a training plan for staff on transgender issues, and a plan to review Strawberry’s placement. Our fight for Strawberry is not over, but this is a vital step in the process!

In December 2018, Strawberry was moved to Logan prison, a women's prison in Illinois! In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Strawberry stated “At the end of the day, I’m safe here, I feel good." 

Attorneys: Alan Mills, Liz Mazur (Uptown People's Law Center), Vanessa del Valle, Sheila A. Bedi (Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center)

Date Filed: August 14, 2018

Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

Judge: Judge Reona J. Daly

Status: Active

Case Number: 18 CV 0550


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.

CHICAGO — A transgender woman who was battling the Illinois Department of Corrections over alleged abuse while she was incarcerated has been released from prison, officials said Tuesday.

Transgender inmate Strawberry Hampton is out of prison after waging a two-year battle to be housed with women to escape the horrors she says she suffered at the hands of male guards and prisoners.

A transgender woman who garnered national attention after making abuse allegations against guards and inmates at multiple Illinois men’s prisons is now free following a public campaign for her release.

CHICAGO — A transgender woman who was battling the Illinois Department of Corrections over alleged abuse while she was incarcerated has been released from prison, officials said Tuesday.

Incarcerated trans people can fight to create legal precedents that help the whole transgender community. Here are five who fought for important legal victories.

LINCOLN — When the light catches the specks of glitter on her face, Deon Hampton looks the part of a stage performer, a role she hopes to play after leaving prison. Hampton, who adopted the name "Strawberry" as a child after realizing her male body did not match her female identity, was transferred to the women's facility in Lincoln in December after a federal judge ruled the Department of Corrections failed to protect Hampton when she lived in male prisons.

Just before Christmas, the 27-year-old transgender inmate was granted a rare transfer to a women’s prison in alignment with her gender identity. The move came amid her yearlong court battle chronicling allegations of abuse and sexual assault by both inmates and corrections staff at four men’s facilities across Illinois.

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