May 24, 2024

A historic settlement involving a transgender woman in New York may result in a significant improvement in how LGBTQ inmates are treated in Broome County prisons.

While she was in their care for six weeks, Makyyla Holland, a 25-year-old transgender woman, accused the correctional staff at the Broome County Jail of mistreatment and prejudice.

In accordance with the Thursday-filed $140,000 settlement, Broome County agreed to put the LGBTI Guidelines for Safe Confinement into effect.

In her complaint, Holland claimed that she had been abused, housed with men, and denied access to medical care. Holland further claimed that the correctional staff “ignored her repeated pleas for help and for protection from the threats and sexual victimization to which they had exposed her” and that she was “routinely harassed and misgendered.”

Holland said in a statement released through the New York Civil Liberties Union, “I was harassed, mocked, misgendered and worse: jail staff strip-searched me, beat me up, put me in the male section of the jail and withheld my hormones for a period of time, forcing me to go into agonizing withdrawal.”

Assault and criminal contempt charges led to Holland’s arrest, according to the Facebook page of the Binghamton Police Department. She admitted to being in contempt of court and received a time served punishment. According to the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, the criminal case against her has been resolved.

Additional information was not confirmed by the Binghamton Police Department.

Photo: A New York jail will embrace LGBTQ prison reform following a historic agreement with a transgender woman.
A New York jail will implement LGBTQ prison reform following a historic deal with a transgender woman.

The new LGBTQ policies enforce zero-tolerance anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and put in place protocols to safeguard LGBTQ people’s safety and privacy around other jailed individuals. The rules declare that the measures are intended to stop the behaviors that gave rise to Holland’s claimed mistreatment.

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“I’m pleased we were able to reach an agreement amicably,” said Broome County Sheriff Fred Akshar. “This resolution establishes clear LGBTI Guidelines, which were previously nonexistent, to address the rights of LGBTI inmates while maintaining the safety and security of individuals both housed and working at the Broome County Correctional Facility.”

It’s another significant step toward pragmatically and safely modernizing rules to fit the needs of those we serve and protect as we endeavor to create a better, safer environment for everyone in Broome County, the official stated.

While she was in their care for six weeks, Makyyla Holland, a 25-year-old transgender woman, accused the correctional staff at the Broome County Jail of mistreatment and prejudice.
While she was in their care for six weeks, Makyyla Holland, a 25-year-old transgender woman, accused the correctional staff at the Broome County Jail of mistreatment and prejudice.

According to the Transgender Law Center, incarcerated gender nonconforming individuals experience more violence and prejudice than their non-LGBTQ counterparts do while in U.S. correctional facilities. The center’s study shows that this is especially true for persons of color, like Holland.

Threats against the LGBTQIA+ community are becoming more frequent. Homeland Security Department
For instance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics discovered that the sexual assault rate among transgender people in detention is ten times higher than that of the general population in correctional facilities.

In a statement, Holland stated, “This policy and policies like it can have an impact on a lot of my community. I will continue to fight to ensure that no other trans person in New York or anywhere else has to go through what I did.”

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