A class action lawsuit filed by 15 former and current gay, bi and trans (GBT) inmates of San Bernardino County Jail in California alleges gross mistreat and discrimination based on the prisoners’ sexual orientations.
Among the accusations are claims of being held in solitary for longer than is allowed — up to 22 hours a day in some cases — and being denied access to rehabilitation programs.
They all went through, or are currently in the ‘Alternative Lifestyle Tank’ at the West Valley Detention, where self-identifying GBT inmates are sent to keep them separated from the general prison population.
The lawsuit says that the, “inmates are not given equal access to opportunities to reduce their sentences, services, programs and facilities, and are often treated in an abusive and neglectful manner. In short, GBT inmates at WVDC serve longer sentences and endure substantially worse conditions of confinement simply because they are gay, bisexual or transgender.
Unlike the male, non-GBT general population, sentenced GBT inmates at WVDC are generally not allowed to participate in the inmate work program, and, to the extent they may occasionally have limited access, it is substantially less than that available to non-GBT inmates.”
They also claim that due to guards’ “unwarranted feat of AIDS,” they, “do not conduct the required safety checks for GBT cells,” and that GBT inmates are routinely subjected to abusive conduct and derogatory name calling.
The suit has been filed on behalf of all GBT inmates at the West Valley Detention Center. They are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a local Californian law firm, and are seeking damages for their treatment.
“Gay, bisexual and transgender people housed at West Valley Detention Center are punished twice, first for the crimes the allegedly committed, and again, simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,’ said attorney Brenden Hamme of the ACLU to CBS.
They’ve been told most frequently that it’s for their own safety, but jails are quite capable and are constitutionally mandated to not only provide for the safety of their charges but to also provide equal access to jail programs and facilities.”
If successful, the lawsuit could affect how GBT prisoners are treated throughout the California detention system.
h/t Gay Star News