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Strawberry Hampton released from prison

Wednesday, Jul 10, 2019

* NBC 5

A transgender woman who was battling the Illinois Department of Corrections over alleged abuse while she was incarcerated has been released from prison, officials said Tuesday.

Deon “Strawberry” Hampton of Chicago, who was serving a 10-year sentence for burglary, was released Monday from Logan Correctional Center outside Lincoln, Illinois.

In a statement, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board said the Corrections Department recommended granting restoration of good conduct credit to Strawberry Hampton, 28, “and the Prisoner Review Board approved that recommendation, which made Ms. Hampton eligible for release.”

Hampton was incarcerated in April 2015 and the Corrections Department projected she would be released in July 2021.

Hampton was incarcerated at correctional facilities for men before being transferred last year to Logan, a facility for women. She alleged she was repeatedly the victim of sexual assault, taunting and beatings in male prisons.

* AP

Hampton said she was due to be released from prison in February, but she said officers retaliated against her for reporting the alleged abuse by revoking her good conduct credit. She said that effectively lengthened her sentence. Hampton has two ongoing lawsuits against the Corrections Department.

Spokeswoman Lindsey Hess said the department couldn’t comment on Hampton’s allegations because of pending litigation.

“I think it was a combination of having those two lawsuits, our clemency petition, our consistent advocacy,” that led to IDOC restoring her good time, attorney Vanessa Del Valle of the MacArthur Justice Center told WBEZ. “I think it just all came together.”

* WBEZ has been all over this story and broke the news

Strawberry Hampton was housed at four different Illinois Department of Corrections men’s facilities. She said she faced repeated physical, verbal and sexual abuse from guards and fellow prisoners. Hampton accused staff at Pinckneyville Correctional Center of forcing her to have sex with her cellmate for their entertainment, according to court filings. […]

Hampton was due to be released from an Illinois prison last February, but she said officers retaliated against her for reporting the alleged abuse by revoking what’s known as good time, and it effectively lengthened her sentence. Hampton was sentenced to 10 years in prison for burglary. She was released Monday because IDOC recommended restoring Hampton’s good time, and the Illinois Prisoner Review Board approved its request. […]

Hampton waged a legal battle to be transferred to a women’s prison, and in December 2018, IDOC transferred her to Logan Correctional Center. She was due to stay in prison until November 2019. […]

Justice Department data estimates there were over 3,200 transgender inmates in state and federal prisons as of 2012. And nearly 40% reported being victims of sexual misconduct by other inmates and guards. That compares to around 4% of the general prison reporting such abuse.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

32 Comments
  1. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 11:31 am:

    Between this and the censorship in Danville, what’s going on with IDOC? The state is going to be out a lot of money for unconstitutional actions and retaliation for Ms. Hampton and who knows how many people this is happening to who are afraid to speak out.


  2. - New Slang - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 12:37 pm:

    What censorship issues at Danville?


  3. - cdog - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    Lets hope she’s able to get a job and transition into a normal life of sufficiency.

    (It’s really a tragic story in so many ways, and hopefully there will be opportunities for her regardless of history and lifestyle. It’s not going to be an easy transition for someone like her.)


  4. - Just Another Anon - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    Transgender inmates pose a serious liability problem for correctional organizations. Do you house them with the gender they identify as, or do you house them based upon the biological gender? On the one hand, you have the potential for them to become the victim, on the other you have the potential for other inmates to become the victims. Its a Hobson’s choice (or maybe a Cornelian dilemma is more accurate) as far as liability goes.


  5. - Nuclear Bozo - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 1:53 pm:

    IDOC recently removed a bunch of books from there that were previously approved.


  6. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    This was ridiculous. Strawberry is hardly a threat to our safety.


  7. - AlfondoGonz - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    Having clerked at the Cook County Public Defender’s Office and served as State’s Attorney in both DuPage and Cook, I’ve spent a good amount a time in a variety of prisons.

    1. They’re all awful.
    2. The women’s are worse. In one, all the inmates slept in a single room. I don;t know if that was the permanent policy or there was some issue of necessity on the day I was there, but the dangers presented by that arrangement were obvious.
    3. Prison is unsafe for everyone.

    I’ll say right off the bat that I don’t believe all of Ms. Hampton’s allegations. I believe most of them. But not all of them. I also don’t think there is a good solution regarding where to house transgender inmates. I don’t think it wise to house physically male inmates with women, and I don’t think it safe to house identifying female inmates with men.


  8. - Stanley - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 3:01 pm:

    I keep seeing references to the risk of “biologically male” people committing sexual offenses when placed with cisgender women. Can someone please provide some research that shows a) trans women are likely to offend and/or b) provide some risk that simply having male external genitalia makes someone more likely to be an offender, regardless of how they identify or hormone composition?

    This idea that trans women should be housed with men because they may harm cis women is the same argument that comes up in the bathroom debate. I have yet to see facts to back it up. When I try to find them myself, all I see is a bunch of research showing the risk of harm TO trans people.


  9. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 3:08 pm:

    No one in prison is safe.

    This person was particularly vulnerable.

    The solution may lie in better designed prisons…and more carefully selected Staff/Officers…and perhaps most importantly…taking a fresh look at who actually benefits from our system of mass incarceration.


  10. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 3:13 pm:

    ==This was ridiculous. Strawberry is hardly a threat to our safety.==

    ==Deon “Strawberry” Hampton of Chicago, who was serving a 10-year sentence for burglary==

    Soccermom, a 10-year sentence for burglary is a pretty serious rap. Perhaps Ms. Hampton isn’t a safety threat, but she’s no saint. Transgender people can’t just be allowed to commit crimes and get away with it because they get treated badly in prison and DOC can’t figure out how to separate them from the gen pop.


  11. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 3:14 pm:

    ===a 10-year sentence for burglary is a pretty serious rap===

    It also seems excessive if there was no violence.


  12. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 3:16 pm:

    ===This person was particularly vulnerable.===

    To the whims of sadistic guards, apparently.


  13. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 3:44 pm:

    I don’t know why it’s more dangerous to house a trans woman in a women’s prison than to allow men to guard women inmates.


  14. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 3:52 pm:

    LHM — I checked the court record. She walked into an unlocked first floor apartment, took a Calvin Klein handbag, an iPad and a pair of sunglasses, and left. She then asked the responding officers for a ride to the train. The arresting officer didn’t bother to use handcuffs. Doesn’t sound like a particularly dangerous individual.


  15. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 3:58 pm:

    The only person Strawberry is a danger to is herself.

    “On June 26, Hampton attempted suicide by hanging herself. “Staff found her unconscious and dragged her out of her cell,” the lawsuit claims. After leaving crisis watch three days later, Hampton attempted to hang herself again and was once more placed on crisis watch, according to the lawsuit, which adds that in February, while at the Lawrence Correctional Center, Hampton tried to hang herself four separate times.”

    https://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2018/07/30/trans-woman-strawberry-hampton-reports-continued-assaults-while-detained-at-mens-prisons


  16. - NotMe - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 4:13 pm:

    I certainly hope that Strawberry gets access to services that are specific to her needs - counseling and treatment that is sensitive to the needs of transgender people is a significant first step to ensure that she can succeed on the outside.


  17. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 4:16 pm:

    ==Doesn’t sound like a particularly dangerous individual.==

    No it doesn’t, and like Rich says it’s an excessive punishment for what you’re describing - I can only assume she had prior convictions. Regardless, we can’t just let criminals walk just because they’re trans and are treated badly when put in jail. Maybe the state can find a separate housing unit for all trans inmates?


  18. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 4:18 pm:

    ===and are treated badly===

    Allegedly being forced by state prison guards to perform sex acts goes well beyond that.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 4:26 pm:

    To the Post,

    If you are rationalizing how a human being is unequivocally mistreated, your own humanity is in question.

    No one deserves to be treated… less.

    No one.

    See you in church.


  20. - Just Another Anon - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 4:29 pm:

    @Lester Holt’s Mustache

    They tried that. I am aware of at least two civil rights suits involving trans inmates placed into administrative/protective segregation. In fact, the placement into protective segregation is part of the “retaliation” Ms. Hampton alleged in her suit, which she alleges lead to her suicide attempts.


  21. - Just Another Anon - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 4:30 pm:

    To amend my comment above, the suits I am aware of are challenging the placement of trans individuals into admin seg alleging it violates certain equal protection and 8th amendment rights.


  22. - Just Another Anon - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 4:34 pm:

    @ Rich

    My response to @Stanley was removed. Can you please explain why? Seems like you are pulling quite of few of my comments lately and I don’t understand the problem.


  23. - Power House Prowler - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 4:39 pm:

    Well. Lets hope the new director reigns in all of the incompetence. Sad but it is at every level of the Dept.


  24. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 5:10 pm:

    “protective segregation” is a nice word for solitary confinement. It drives people out of their minds.


  25. - Anon E Moose - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 5:14 pm:

    Is there an example of a State that does this correctly? I’m not being facetious but it’s easy to show problems and much harder to come up with actual solutions.


  26. - Tired of Both Parties - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 6:05 pm:

    If it is discovered that she made up these allegations against the prison guards, what are the consequences? Hint: the answer is there are no consequences.


  27. - Excitable Boy - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 7:22 pm:

    Tired, I’m sure if the allegations are shown to be true you’ll be first in line to condemn the perpetrators.

    Go take a nap.


  28. - Tired of Both Parties - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 7:37 pm:

    If the allegations are found to be false, you won’t hear anything about here or in the media.


  29. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 8:18 pm:

    According to the IDOC website there were 2 prior convictions for Home Invasion (Class X) and Burglary (Class 2) with what appear to have been concurrent sentences and the 10 year sentence for Residential Burglary (Class 1, extendable by the priors for up to 30 years). The treatment alleged by Ms. Hampton should never be tolerated, but the sentence imposed was certainly not unreasonable.


  30. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 9:20 pm:

    ==placed into administrative/protective segregation. ==

    No, I don’t mean segregation. I mean like an entire facility just for these inmates. The story says 3,200 in both federal and state prisons, so I assume just the ones in Illinois state prisons would be a very small number.


  31. - oldhp - Wednesday, Jul 10, 19 @ 10:03 pm:

    Unless you worked in a prison you have NO idea what your talking about. The court decisions have dictated more what to do with trans inmates than anybody else. For you know it all’s….what do you do with a inmate that has a “full” womans upper body and a “full” mans lower body on the bottom??? ….and the inmate sells his/hers body out for money by doing sexual favors……and then blame the prison staff for what happened. Geeeze…..


  32. - ugh - Thursday, Jul 11, 19 @ 12:55 pm:

    Can someone bubble wrap Oswego Willy? I’m not reading the best of CapFax a little teary eyed worried about losing the next great commenter.


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