Colo. county jail segregates transgender inmate

Woman had not threatened anyone, but someone complained that she was being "disruptive by talking about her status"


By Kassondra Cloos
The Gazette

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A transgender inmate was recently separated from the general female population at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center after a complaint was filed about her, the Sheriff's Office confirmed Wednesday.

The woman had not threatened anyone, but someone complained that she was being "disruptive by talking about her status," spokesman Sgt. Greg White said. He would not release the complaint filed against the inmate, citing concern for her safety.

Inmates at CJC are housed by "biological gender," or what physically classifies them as men or women.

After the complaint was filed, the woman was put into a part of the jail with solitary cells. Inmates there are confined to their cells for 23 hours per day. The separation is indefinite, but likely short-lived as she is expected to be extradited soon to Georgia, where a warrant for her arrest was issued. "At this point, it's now for the inmate's safety," White said.

Gerald Albrent, who volunteers with Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said he understands the jail's decision. He was speaking for himself and not on behalf of PFLAG, he said.

In the short term, if a person is going through a transition process, other people may not understand and may be uncomfortable. Moving someone out of that situation is a good short-term solution, because educating an entire jail population isn't feasible, Albrent said.

"It's an uncomfortable situation, but it does take some real education," Albrent said.

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