The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund is calling on the New York State Department of Corrections to address the abuse towards Eyricka King, a transgender inmate.
King, who is being held at the Franklin Correctional Facility in Malone, New York, has reportedly been subjected to verbal, physical, and sexual abuse by both inmates and guards. She is also being denied proper medical treatment and was being held in solitary confinement.
King’s mother, Kelly Harrison, has been speaking out about this on social media. Harrison even started a change.org petition to have her daughter moved to a facility where she’ll be protected.
On 11 July, Harrison received a heartbreaking letter from her daughter, detailing the abuse she’s been experiencing. The letter quickly went viral.
‘Upon my arrival to the dorm the inmate came with 3 other inmates and threatened to attack me if I came into the house,’ King wrote. ‘So I immediately told the officer I could not live in that dorm and for him to call a sargent [sic], he did just that.’
‘The sargent arrived in a black van with 2 other sargents and he immediately said it [sic] 9:00 at night I don’t feel like dealing with this p*ssy f*ggot cuff him now.’
King goes on to describe the officers roughing her up, slamming her head into a brick wall and punching her.
‘We are extremely troubled by reports of violence against Eyricka King at the Franklin Correctional Facility,’ Jillian Weiss, Executive Director for Transgender Legal, said. ‘We urge the State Department of Corrections to swiftly confront this abuse and ensure that Ms. King is removed from harm’s way in a manner consistent with law.’
‘We call on the department to administer proper medical treatment immediately. The department should move Ms. King to a facility where she will be protected and treated with dignity and respect. As required by law, they should provide an individualized assessment for protective custody, without the use of cruel and harmful solitary confinement or administrative segregation. The idea that a sexual assault victim would be laughed at, dismissed, or placed in solitary for bringing her complaints to the attention of officials is horrifying to any civilized society.’
Weiss also points out that in 2016, New York State adopted comprehensive policies for protecting transgender New Yorkers, which the Franklin Correctional Facility is in violation of.
As of 20 July, King is reportedly out of solitary confinement and in the process of being transferred to a different facility.