Justice Department Is Investigating Treatment of Gay and Trans Prisoners

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The Justice Department and the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia have launched a joint investigation into the treatment of gay and transgender inmates in Georgia prisons. The DOJ confirmed to the Georgia Voice that this is the first time it has opened an investigation focused on LGBT prisoners.

The probe follows the high-profile case of Ashley Diamond, a transgender woman who, as Mother Jones reported last year, sued employees in Georgia’s correctional department for allegedly denying her medical treatment and failing to protect her from sexual assault while she was detained. She was released from prison last August, and the lawsuit was settled in February.

“All prisoners in Georgia institutions are entitled to serve their time safely, especially if physical harm or abuse occurs because of a prisoner’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” John Horn, US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, told the Georgia Voice.

The DOJ recently released new national guidelines to help protect transgender inmates, who face high rates of sexual assault.