Transgender Woman Sues Police After Being Put In a Prison Cell With Her Rapist
A black transgender has decided to file a lawsuit against a prison outside of Savannah, GA after they made a decision to place her in an all male prison. Just so happened that in that same prison was her rapist.
The odds were already against Zahara Green when she entered prison on May 10, 2012. Prisons have long been plagued by a culture of sexual harassment and assault, but Green was a transgender woman in an all-male facility — making her about 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than a non-transgender inmate, according to a 2009 study.
Green told BuzzFeed News she distinctly remembers her first day in general population at Rogers State Prison, a facility about an hour and a half outside of Savannah, Georgia. It was two months into her sentence, and she said she can still envision the officer dropping her off at her dorm and walking away.
“I kind of just felt that he was letting me out with the wolves. You’re on your own. It clicked in my mind,” she said. “I found my bed, I placed my stuff on my bed, and then I sat there for about an hour and people were just coming in and out as if this was some kind of showcase.”
Under federal law, states must seriously consider transgender inmates’ safety concerns — and the Georgia Department of Corrections has said it has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct.
Green was approached by Darryl Ricard — a high-ranking gang member within the prison, she said — right after moving to the dorm at Rogers. He was in his seventh year of a life sentence for aggravated child molestation, rape, and kidnapping. “He basically made me his PROPERTY,” she said.
Over the next few weeks, as Ricard repeatedly coerced her to perform [mouth] sex on him, Green would write to prison administrative staff about the unsafe environment for transgender and homosexual inmates, Green said. Rogers State Prison housed one other transgender woman at the time, to Green’s knowledge, although Green was the only one receiving HORMONE TREATMENT.
Shortly afterward, she requested to be put into protective custody, which is typically a solitary cell for prisoners who believe their safety is at risk, CAREFULLYmonitored by prison officials. What allegedly happened next makes up the bulk of a lawsuit Green and her Atlanta-based lawyer Mario Williams filed in May against the prison’s warden, deputy warden, and two correctional officers. Last week, they filed another complaint against an additional 13 additional correctional officers.
On Sept. 21, 2012, Green and Ricard were separately admitted into protective custody. According to Green, Ricard was the chief reason she had requested the special security measures. But for still unclear reasons, when Green entered her protective custody cell around 4:30 a.m., “Ricard was waiting” there, the complaint says. “Ricard raped Green, and the Defendants to this action all knew Ricard was going to rape (or at the very least, sexually assault) Green yet permitted Ricard to sexually assault Green.” The correction officers allegedly “condoned” the rape.
According to Williams, Green’s attorney, Green and Ricard had been assigned to different protective custody cells, and Ricard should have never been allowed in Green’s cell. Nearly 24 hours passed, though security checks were supposed to be made at least every 30 minutes. Williams said he believes the Georgia Department of Corrections knew about the situation and did nothing to prevent Green’s assault. The department declined to comment on the case to BuzzFeed News, citing pending litigation.
What is our world coming to? How did common sense not tell you to place her in a woman’s prison? Or am I wrong?