Equality Texas is alarmed to learn that a transgender woman, Valerie Jackson, was allegedly forced to show her genitals to officers at the Dallas County jail. This action by jailers is contrary to the requirements of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and the Dallas County jail’s own policy.
Jackson has filed a federal lawsuit against Dallas County alleging harassment and mistreatment.
“On the streets or in jail, all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” says Lou Weaver, Transgender Programs Coordinator for Equality Texas. “When jailers house transgender women with male inmates, they put them at high risk of assault. These actions by Dallas County deputies demonstrate an alarming misunderstanding of the factors that should go into housing decisions. No one should be subjected to such treatment.”
According to the lawsuit, Dallas County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Shelley Knight conceded that some procedures were not followed while Jackson was in the jail. The suit goes on to say the policy violations were not properly investigated.
“Equality Texas will be following this case closely,” Chuck Smith, Equality Texas CEO says. “Jail policies and procedures should be consistent across the state and should be aimed at protecting the most vulnerable populations.”
Equality Texas is the largest statewide organization working to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration.