incarceration nation

Should MTF Inmates Be Housed With the General Female Population?

Think trans activist Autumn Sandeen’s “shim” prison episode is an isolated incident? Rochelle A. Mead, a MTF Michigan woman jailed for six days on charges of driving with an expired license, and who is also a registered sex offender stemming from a 1995 incident where she exposed herself to a minor, says she too suffered indecencies while behind bars. And the ACLU would like some answers please.

Mead says “she was insulted by jail workers, denied medication and not permitted to leave the holding cell where she was kept,” according to the Flint Journal. She was housed separately from other inmates, not with other incarcerated ladies as she requested — and that’s where the ACLU is most concerned.

[ACLU Michicgan’s LGBT Project attorney Jay] Kaplan said he wants to talk to Pickell about the jail’s policies on transgender inmates, incuding where they are housed, their access to medication and how they are “treated by jail staff concerning gender pronouns and their ability to express themselves in accordance with their gender identity.”

Mead said her problems in the county jail started almost immediately after she was booked on July 14. She was not given female hormones, she and [Sheriff Robert Pickell] agree, although Kaplan said they were brought to the jail and she had a prescription for them. The sheriff said Mead wasn’t in jail long enough for him to make arrangements for her to receive hormone therapy.

Mead said she also did not receive seizure medications until she experienced a seizure in the holding cell. After the seizure, she claimed, a lieutenant told her, “You’re a (expletive) man and you always will be. You’re not going nowhere.” Pickell disputed Mead’s claim about that and other allegations but agreed he keeps transgender inmates separate from others.

And why didn’t Pickell let Mead live with other female inmates? Because Mead, who identifies as female and is listed as such on her driver’s license, hasn’t change what lives below the waste. Says Pickell: “What other woman wants to go into the shower with a person” [in the process of changing her gender]?”