VESTAL, NY (WSKG) — While, awaiting trial, a trans woman from Hornell, New York, was housed in a men’s facility in Steuben County.
On behalf of Jena Faith, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Trangender Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the law firm Baker Hostetler filed a lawsuit in late April against the county, the county sheriff and employees of the county’s jail.
It alleges Faith was held in a facility that does not correspond with her gender identity.
Faith’s lawyers said she was held in the women’s side of the jail for a few days before she was moved to the men’s side. While there, she was denied her medication, she suffered sexual harassment from other inmates, and guards were not responsive to her complaints.
Faith says she wants to set a precedent for trans rights in New York state.
“Without these rights, we’re just gonna be victims of continued violence and harassment, and this all needs to end today,” Faith explained
Faith is recognized as female on government documents, and by the VA medical center.
In a voicemail to WSKG, Sheriff Allard had no comment on the suit specifically, but said he has confidence in his corrections officers.
“Our corrections officers are all highly-trained professionals that do an extremely difficult job everyday in trying to maintain the safety and security of the inmates that we’re entrusted with,” Allard added.
New York state law requires prisons and jails to house inmates in facilities consistent with their gender identity.