The Housing Fight for Rights for Transgender Women in Prisons and Jails

Last Sunday the Pittsburgh Tribune Review published an extensive profile of our client, Jules Williams. Ms. Williams is a transgender woman who has courageously stepped forward to file a groundbreaking civil rights lawsuit against the Allegheny County Jail (ACJ) challenging its practice of housing transgender women with men. As the story suggests, like many transgender individuals, Ms. Williams has experienced great difficulty in being accepted by society at large.

Over the past few years she was jailed multiple times at the ACJ for minor offenses. Each time she was processed and housed with men and was subjected to emotional and physical abuse including sexual assaults, verbal abuse and humiliation. In one instance, Ms. Williams was placed in solitary confinement with a male inmate where she was confined to that cell with that male inmate for 23 hours per day.  She was repeatedly sexually assaulted by the male inmate over a period of four straight days.  This is just one instance of the harm caused by housing transgender women with men. 

We are determined to make this lawsuit the catalyst for humane treatment of transgender individuals in corrections institutions.  In a perfect world, this lawsuit would also serve as the catalyst for greater acceptance in society at large for transgender individuals.