Championing Equality: The Battle for Transgender Rights in Prison

Hughes Socol Pier Resnick & Dym along with co-counsel Melinda Power from West Town Law Office, is proud to represent Hannah Finnegan, a 35-year-old transgender woman from Central Illinois. Hannah’s harrowing experience sheds light on the critical issue of safety and protection for transgender individuals within the prison system.

In 2018, Hannah found herself in a men’s prison under the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). Despite being officially designated as “vulnerable” by IDOC officials, indicating the need for single-cell housing for her safety, she was placed in a cell with a male prisoner convicted of predatory criminal sexual assault. Tragically, as predicted, Hannah was raped.

Rather than taking responsibility for this clear violation of Hannah’s rights, attorneys for IDOC officials sought to have the case dismissed. However, last week, a federal judge in East St. Louis denied their efforts, allowing Hannah’s claims against the prison staff to proceed to trial.

Hannah’s case underscores the urgent need for IDOC to take seriously it’s obligation to protect vulnerable populations, especially transgender women like Hannah Finnegan. Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym remains committed to seeking justice for Hannah and others who have suffered similar injustices.

As we continue to fight for Hannah’s rights in court, we call attention to the systemic issues that contribute to such incidents and advocate for meaningful change to prevent future tragedies.

To read the Court’s opinion click HERE.

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