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Illinois transgender woman sues to move to women’s prison

July 24, 2018

FILE - This undated photo provided by the Illinois Department of Corrections shows Deon "Strawberry" Hampton, a transgender Chicago woman serving a 10-year sentence for burglary. Hampton, who is incarcerated at a men's correctional facility in northern Illinois, is again suing the state Department of Corrections to be housed in a women's prison after alleging she's suffered abuse in several male facilities. Hampton has sued the agency multiple times and has been transferred to four different facilities in the last year. (Illinois Department of Corrections via AP)

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A transgender woman, who’s incarcerated at a men’s correctional facility in northern Illinois, is again suing the state Department of Corrections to be housed in a women’s prison after alleging she’s suffered abuse in several male facilities.

Deon “Strawberry” Hampton has sued the agency multiple times and has been transferred to four different facilities in the last year. Hampton currently resides at the Dixon Correctional Facility, after spending time at the Lawrence Correctional Center where other transgender inmates live.

Hampton’s attorney Vanessa del Valle said abuse has continued regardless of where her client has been sent.

“For nearly five months while she was housed at Menard, officers constantly verbally harassed Plaintiff and sexually and physically abused her_and had other detainees beat her_both because of her gender and in retaliation for complaints she filed against officers at Pinckneyville,” says Hampton’s amended complaint.

Hampton settled a lawsuit in January against members of the Menard Correctional Center. A separate suit against Pinckneyville Correctional Center officials will be heard March 16, 2020.

Hampton has alleged that she was verbally harassed and was attacked by male prisoners and guards while in custody at the Lawrence Correctional Center and the other facilities.

“Officers failed to protect (Hampton) from two different prisoners who sexually assaulted her and threatened to rape her,” the complaint said of her treatment at Dixon.

Hampton is serving a 10-year burglary sentence.

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