Transgender inmate sues DC over incarceration in men's unit

Transgender inmate sues DC over incarceration in men's unit
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A transgender woman is suing the District of Columbia over her incarceration in a men’s unit.

Sunday Hinton sued the District on Tuesday over her housing at the Central Detention Facility (CDF), which is a men’s facility, solely based on anatomy. The complaint states that Hinton is “at risk of imminent harm.”

The suit was announced by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of DC, which is representing her along with D.C.’s Public Defender Service.


According to the complaint, Hinton was placed in pretrial custody on April 26 for allegations of unarmed burglary with intent to steal $20. Hinton was sent to the men’s facility despite being identified as “woman” by the court.

The Department of Corrections has a policy specifying that transgender individuals are housed based on anatomy, not gender identity, according to the complaint. Assignments can be changed based on a recommendation from the Department’s Transgender Housing Committee.

But the committee hasn’t met in 16 months, and during that time "transgender individuals in DOC custody have been assigned housing based solely on their anatomy,” the suit alleges.

When Hinton’s public defender asked to have Hinton moved, the department said that she would still have to be housed in men’s general population or in protective custody if she is still “anatomically male.”

The suit alleges that the department is violating the D.C. Human Rights Act, which prevents a district agency from limiting or refusing to provide service to people based on gender identity.

The plaintiffs are asking for a temporary restraining order to move her to the women’s housing unit, and to make the department streamline its process for transgender inmates to have hearings before the Transgender Housing Committee.


DOC spokesperson Keena Blackmon told The Hill in a statement that Hinton was placed into “single-occupancy” quarantine for 14 days due to COVID-19 protocol, after which Hinton will go before the housing panel.

“DC DOC is sensitive to Ms. Hinton's concerns and will continue to ensure that its residents' needs are met,” Blackmon said.

The Hill has reached out to Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserDC board votes to lift last COVID-19 restrictions on bars, restaurants Hogan announces Maryland will close mass vaccination sites, shift to local clinics Biden and Bowser administrations change their tunes on last summer's riot response MORE (D) and Attorney General Karl Racine (D) for comment.