Transgender inmate Ashley Diamond reaches settlement with Georgia's Department of Corrections

Ashley Diamond, a transgender woman from Georgia, has brought widespread attention to the abuse and the denial of medical treatment that many incarcerated transgender inmates face. While Diamond was in prison, she was wrongfully placed in a male facility and denied the right to continue hormone replacement therapy, despite her seventeen-year medical history of  receiving this therapy prior to her incarceration. Diamond was also repeatedly sexually assaulted by other prisoners. For over a year, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has legally represented Ashley Diamond, and in August  of 2015, they successfully pressured the Georgia Department of Corrections to release her while she was serving time for a probation violation stemming from a nonviolent crime. 

Earlier this month, the SPLC announced that they reached an agreement with the Department of Corrections to pay Diamond an undisclosed financial settlement. This is an important victory for incarcerated transgender people, who are victimized at 10 times the rate of other prisoners.

Diamond's story garnered national attention from the New York Times and other news outlets, as well as from celebrities like Elton John and Michael Stipe, who publicly announced their support for Diamond and called for an end to violence against other transgender prisoners in a joint statement. Her experiences sparked a national conversation to reform the treatment of transgender prisoners. In April of 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement declaring that gender dysphoria is a condition that requires medically necessary treatment, and that all corrections departments have a constitutional obligation to provide this medical care, which includes hormone therapy, to transgender prisoners.

The SPLC recently released a video on their YouTube channel featuring Diamond documenting her journey and the importance of continually raising awareness for this pressing issue. "It's about standing up to injustice and ensuring that no transgender people endure the horrific abuse and mistreatment that I experienced behind bars." Since her release, the Georgia Department of Corrections revoked its "freeze frame" policy, which only allowed for transgender inmates who had begun hormone thereapy prior to entering prison to receive it while in prison, and implemented a sexual assault prevention policy where prison staffers are trained to tend towards the health and safety needs of transgender inmates.

Watch the full video from SPLC featuring Ashley Diamond below: