Deon “Strawberry” Hampton is a transgender woman serving time at a high-security men’s prison in southern Illinois. However, Hampton is asking to leave the prison as she is asking permission to complete her time at a women’s facility instead.
Here’s What We Know:
Strawberry Hampton was legally born Deon Hampton. Before she was incarcerated, Hampton lived her life as a transgender woman wearing weave, makeup, and women’s clothing. Currently, the 26-year-old transgender woman is serving a 10-year sentence in an Illinois male’s prison for burglary. However, Hampton is being asked to transfer to a women’s prison because she is tired of being harassed and abused. Hampton feels like if she is moved to a women’s prison that she will be safer.
According to NY Daily News, prison guards at Pinckneyville Correctional Center allegedly made Hampton perform sexual acts with another transgender inmate. While forcing Hampton to engage in sexual activity, the guards allegedly taunted him and laughed. Tired of being abused, Hampton reported the guards to PREA, the Prison Rape Elimination Act. After reporting the guards, the alleged abuse didn’t stop,however, it worsened. Hampton was transferred to Menard Correctional Center. What she didn’t know is that the Pinckneyville guards allegedly informed the Menard guards that Hampton had reported them.
At the Menard Correctional Center, Hampton was reportedly placed in solitary confinement. Hampton was allegedly beaten and denied food, which caused her to lose 35 pounds. Tired of the abuse and mistreatment, Hampton is asking a judge to move her to a women’s prison. Hampton has several attorney’s and is being represented by Uptown People’s Law Center, a non-profit organization in Chicago. Her attorneys have asked that she be moved to another facility. Sheila Bedi, one of Hampton’s attorneys, stated the following:
At this moment, when countless women in the free world are coming forward to tell their stories of sexual abuse with the #metoo hashtag, Strawberry has been thrown into solitary confinement and subjected to further abuse for speaking her truth about sexual violence. The ‘me too’ movement must create space for imprisoned survivors of sexual abuse. Our hope is the court will take immediate action to protect her, and will house her with other women where she can be protected from further abuse
While prison officials can assign transgender women to women’s prisons, it doesn’t happen often. Not only does Hampton wish to be in a women’s prison for safety reasons, she wants to be there for her mental health as well. In a women’s prison, Hampton would be allowed to dress in women’s clothing. Since the age of 5, Hampton has identified herself as a woman, however, she has not had sex reassignment surgery.
A decision on the transfer request isn’t expected for several weeks. A U.S. magistrate judge began hearing Hampton’s case on Friday.