Transgender inmates in Florida prisons face widespread and constant threats of violence from inmates, according to a new investigation by the Tampa Bay Times. Moreover, prisoners report indifference or outright hostility when it comes to response from staff.
A new report in the newspaper documents suicides and death threats. Based on a scouring of public records and conducting of jailhouse interviews, the newspaper found many signs those in state custody feel perpetually at risk.
"Where are we gonna go?" said Kylee Evans, who has been incarcerated since 2012.
Still listed as Kyle Evans by the Department of Corrections, Evans said she's at risk of being shanked by gang members who don't want to share male housing with her, but the alternative is solitary confinement.
The state is one that still assigns prisons based on birth gender and does not necessarily house trans inmates together. And complaints filed with the state have only made Evans more unpopular with correctional officers.
The Times also wrote about Stacy Lorraine Naber, an inmate who killed herself at the Dade Correctional Institute in South Florida after unsuccessfully suing to have her name changed on state identification from her deadname. State records still misidentify Naber as male.
The new investigation comes after a year of high-profile fights for the state Department of Corrections with issues of gender identity. The state went to federal court for the right to keep inmate Reiyn Keohane from grooming and dressing as a woman. Keohane in August won the fight for the right to transition while in prison.
Inmate Kat Thomas spoke to ProPublica in June and documented allegations of guards forcibly cutting hair. Despite having state approval to go through hormone therapy, she reported being mocked by prison guards for wearing women's undergarments.