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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

Middle River Regional Jail Faces Federal Lawsuit for Alleged LGBTQ+ Inmate Discrimination

Written by: Sam Orlando

In a recent lawsuit filed in a Virginia court, an inmate at the Middle River Regional Jail (MRRJ) in Staunton, VA, has alleged serious civil rights violations related to discrimination and disparate treatment. Kendra Lanelle Mansfield, the plaintiff in Civil Action No. 723Cv00429, claims to have suffered discrimination due to her sexual preference, and alleges that the jail authorities have allowed other inmates to threaten and harass her without intervening.

The lawsuit centers around two primary allegations. First, Mansfield states that she was unjustly placed in segregation due to her sexual preference and was not allowed access to a razor for facial hair, a necessity for many transgender individuals.

Second, she alleges differential treatment within the facility, with claims that jail officials failed to intervene when she was threatened and harassed by other inmates. Mansfield's filing suggests a potentially harmful environment where her safety and dignity are not sufficiently protected.

The lawsuit seeks redress for the alleged discrimination and harassment. Specifically, Mansfield requests compensation for mental anguish suffered as a result of the alleged actions, as well as a safety injunction to ensure her well-being within the jail facility.

This case highlights ongoing challenges for LGBTQ+ individuals within the criminal justice system. The National Center for Transgender Equality has reported that transgender people are disproportionately incarcerated and frequently face severe mistreatment in jail and prison facilities. This includes high rates of physical and sexual violence, lack of appropriate healthcare, and prolonged periods in solitary confinement.

If Mansfield's case goes to trial, she has requested a jury trial. The outcome could have significant implications for the treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals within Virginia's correctional facilities and perhaps influence broader discussions on LGBTQ+ rights in the United States prison system.

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