Litigation

ACLU Sues Oregon Department of Corrections Over Denial of Medical Care to Transgender Prisoner

Lawsuit highlights relentless suffering of transgender prisoner and demands medically-necessary care for all transgender prisoners

 October 17, 2016 - The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon) filed a lawsuit today in federal court against the officials at the Oregon Department of Corrections on behalf of a transgender prisoner who is being denied essential medical care. The suit, on behalf of Michelle Wright, a transgender woman who is currently housed at Two Rivers Correctional Facility, argues that it is cruel and unusual to deny medically-necessary care to prisoners. Michelle Wright in prison

“The Oregon Department of Corrections is denying our client lifesaving care,” said Mat dos Santos, legal director at the ACLU of Oregon. 

Wright, age 25, felt a deep disconnect between the gender she was assigned at birth and her female gender since childhood. Although she identified as transgender, she was unable to begin hormone therapy prior to her incarceration. According to the complaint, Wright has been denied medical care despite submitting nearly 100 requests. Facing repeated denials of care, she has attempted suicide multiple times and, on three occasions, attempted to castrate herself. 

“At this point, I’m afraid I will lose her forever,” said an emotional Victoria Wright, mother of the plaintiff. “She should be held accountable for her mistakes, but I’m worried she is being damaged in prison in a way that might not be fixable.”

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Shepherd v. Oregon Youth Authority

Imprisoned Seventh Day Adventist Allowed to Attend Service

July 13, 2009 - Levi Shepherd is a Seventh Day Adventist inmate of MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility, which is administered by the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA).  As a Seventh Day Adventist, Mr. Shepherd wants to attend religious services on Saturdays, his Sabbath.OYA does not provide Seventh Day Adventist clergy or services.

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Burkett et al v. County of Jackson et al

September 2005 - Our settlement with Jackson County officials over a strip search of female inmates that occurred two years ago has now been finalized.

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Douglas County Jail Bans Newspapers for Inmates

July 20, 2005 - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oregon is pleased that Douglas County Sheriff Chris Brown has reversed a rule that prohibited jail inmates from receiving newspapers. The ACLU of Oregon sent a letter to Sheriff Brown, in May, requesting that he to lift this ban.

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