Sunday Hinton is suing the District of Columbia in South Carolina, US, after the Department of Corrections (DOC) placed her in a men’s custody unit on April 26, following accusations of an “unarmed burglary with the intent to steal twenty dollars”. According to CNN, the DOC’s official regulations state it “shall classify an inmate who has male genitals as a male and one who has female genitals as a female, unless otherwise recommended by the Transgender Housing Committee and approved in accordance with this policy.”
Hinton is now seeking to eliminate this policy to protect trans inmates and people in custody. The American Civil Liberties Union is supporting the lawsuit, saying: “DOC’s demeaning policy discriminates against transgender individuals and subjects them to a high risk of physical harm, violating Ms. Hinton’s constitutional rights to equal protection and due process.”
It also said the current regulations violate Hinton’s “statutory rights under the D.C. Human Rights Act”, adding: “DOC’s policy also conflicts with federal regulations under the Prison Rape Elimination Act.” DOC spokesperson, Keena Blackmon, insisted the department is “dedicated to the safety and security of all residents in its care and custody”, and said Hinton was first placed into “single-occupancy” quarantine for 14 days in accordance with Covid-19 regulations.