(CNN) A transgender [inmate] placed in a men’s prison after filing a lawsuit alleging abuse at New Jersey’s Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women has been moved to an out-of-state women’s facility, according to [the inmate’s] lawyer.
Rae Rollins had filed a lawsuit in March, alleging [to have been] one of several inmates attacked by corrections officers at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Clinton earlier this year. That incident triggered investigations ordered by Gov. Phil Murphy and by the state’s attorney general’s office.
However, the New Jersey Department of Corrections then moved [Rollins] to a men’s facility, the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, where [Rollins] was listed as the only female inmate as of May 10, according to the state’s offender database.
Rollins is now being held at Pennsylvania’s State Correctional Institution at Muncy, a facility for adult female offenders … It is evident from news coverage that inmate Rae Rollins is a biological male … Click here to read more.
N.J. moves transgender inmate back to men’s prison, raising legal questions
By Blake Nelson | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, May 14, 2021
The New Jersey Department of Corrections classifies Rae Rollins as a woman, but [Rollins] is currently locked up in a men’s prison.
Rollins, who is 25 and transgender, was recently moved from the state’s only women’s facility to New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, according to online prison records. No other person listed as “female” statewide is incarcerated in a male facility, records show.
The transfer comes after Rollins went public with allegations [of being] attacked by staff in January, in an incident that has since led to criminal charges against 10 officers, an outside investigation and calls for the head of the prison system to resign.
Two lawyers not involved with the case said the transfer may violate New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination.
“This is just as simple as it sounds,” Celeste Fiore, a partner at Argentino Fiore Law & Advocacy LLC, said about the statute in general. “There’s no stretch, there’s no legal hurdles you have to jump through, there’s no logic puzzles.”
A state court has considered prisons to be places of “public accommodation” in the past and the law says public buildings can’t discriminate based on someone’s “gender identity or expression.” In cases where areas are for only one sex, like bathrooms, residents should be admitted based on their gender identity.
“Just the fact that they are treating her, someone who identifies as a woman, differently from other people who identify as women just on the basis on genitalia — that certainly, arguably, could violate the LAD,” said Alexis Karteron, associate professor at Rutgers Law School in Newark, using the acronym for the discrimination law.
Rollins said the new location made [him] feel unsafe, and federal surveys have shown that transgender prisoners report dramatically higher rates of sexual abuse behind bars … Click here to read more.