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(REUTERS/Joshua Lott)

Prison abuse

Trans woman jailed in men’s prison says rape, assaults were “hell on earth”

By WITW Staff on April 19, 2016

A transgender woman who was jailed in a notorious all-male prison in Australia claims she was raped and abused more than 2,000 times by the inmates there, had her hair cut off, was banned from taking hormones and began to grow facial hair during her sentence. The woman, known only by the pseudonym Mary, told that while she was jailed for four years at Boggo Road Gaol, which closed in 2002, other prisoners tried to manipulate her into sex under the threat of violence. She described it as “hell on earth” and said she would “rather die than go to prison ever again.” Mary said that after she tried to escape, she was designed “high-risk,” and moved to a maximum security unit with the most violent inmates in the jail.

“I was flogged and bashed to the point where I knew I had to do it in order to survive, but survival was basically for other prisoners’ pleasure,” she said.

Mary’s account of living as a transgender woman inside a male prison comes amid growing concern over how transgender inmates are treated behind bars, where they are are housed, and what resources they are given during their sentences. According to The New York Times, transgender women in male prisons are 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than is the general population, with 59 percent reporting sexual assaults. The U.S. passed special trans inmate protections guidelines in 2012, urging corrections officials to carefully consider the placement and supervision of transgender prisoners, and the U.K. announced in December it would review its policies after the deaths of two trans women in men’s prisons.

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