In a pair of orders issued this morning, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Rosenstengel today denied a motion by the State of Illinois to vacate previous court orders mandating steps to be taken by the Illinois Department of Corrections to care for prisoners who are transgender and gender non-conforming, and ordered the Department to carefully consider the requests made by those prisoners at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center to be transferred out of that facility because it is unable to provide safe conditions for prisoners with gender dysphoria. The rulings are the latest development in a case – Monroe v. Bowman – seeking constitutionally-required health care and housing for those with gender dysphoria in IDOC custody. The following can be attributed to Camille Bennett, Director of the Corrections Reform Project at the ACLU of Illinois:
Today’s rulings by Judge Rosenstengel continue to allow our clients to navigate the very difficult conditions they face inside IDOC facilities. While there has been modest improvement in recent years, the court noted that the pace of change has been “glacial” and that a slow response is the wrong response to rectifying constitutional harms. The court ordered changes more than two years ago that still have not happened today, including things as simple as access to safe and private showers.
We are pleased that the court has ordered IDOC to consider moving our clients out of Pinckneyville, calling for individualized review of transfer requests before the end of the calendar year. At a recent hearing, a number of our clients at Pinckneyville bravely testified and twenty-two clients submitted written declarations about the abysmal conditions and daily humiliations and abuse they face at that facility.
We will continue to advocate for changes in the way IDOC cares for those with gender dysphoria. Today’s rulings will move that effort forward.