Layleen Xtravaganza Cubilette-Polanco, a 27-year-worn transgender girl who died in June 2019 while incarcerated at Rikers Island, used to be now now not housed in an space of the penal advanced that used to be because it goes to be suited to her psychological and physical health needs, in conserving with a brand contemporary sage from Unique York City’s penal advanced oversight board.
In conserving with the review, the Department of Corrections (DOC) used to be company to now now not dwelling a transgender girl in general population housing areas the place cisgender females are held — despite the fact that Rikers officials did, on the assorted hand, focus on inserting Polanco in a men’s ward. This unwillingness ended in Polanco being positioned as a replace in a Restrictive Housing Unit, a model of solitary confinement, after her return from a scientific institution the place she had been receiving psychiatric care.
In most contemporary weeks, Polanco’s death has recaptured nationwide attention and sparked a brand contemporary wave of outrage, following outcry final year over her detention in solitary confinement, after video photos emerged showing that Rikers’ workers allegedly neglected to produce her with lifestyles-saving care.
Polanco, who used to be arrested for allegedly assaulting a cab driver and for possession of a controlled substance and used to be being held on a $500 bail, died on June 7, 2019 following an epileptic seizure, in conserving with a health employee.
In June 2020, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark launched that no prison charges would be sought following an investigation into Polanco’s death. Clark’s assertion used to be harshly criticized by Polanco’s family for publishing her starting up title, a practice acknowledged as deadnaming.
Now, a brand contemporary sage from the Unique York City Board of Corrections (BOC) reviewing the conditions of Polanco’s death presentations that penal advanced workers did now not smartly grab her history of psychological health concerns into myth before inserting her in solitary confinement. The Correctional Health Service’s (CHS) course of for identifying these who needs to be exempt from solitary confinement attributable to their scientific and psychological health history is “insufficient, inconsistent, and potentially at effort of undue stress” from the DOC, per the sage, which mighty the project is among systemic concerns impacting the whole NYC DOC machine.
Polanco’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in opposition to Unique York City and a bunch of Rikers workers. With the begin surveillance video showing penal advanced guards attempting to revive Polanco for about an hour and a half of before they sought scientific support, her family spoke out to tell the photos used to be proof that the penal advanced’s workers had neglected to present her mandatory care.
LGBTQ civil rights activists occupy pointed to Polanco’s treatment as additional proof that jailed transgender of us generally face unduly harsh punishment for minor infractions.
Whereas Polanco had firstly been held in a Transgender Housing Unit dormitory, she used to be charged with violating the DOC’s rules after a physical altercation with any other individual within the dorm and, following a Could in all probability in all probability simply 14 disciplinary hearing, sentenced to 20 days in solitary confinement.
The next day, Polanco started exhibiting signs of psychological bother, in conserving with the sage. In its review, the BOC cited a Rikers officer who wrote Polanco a referral to psychological health companies, noting on Could in all probability in all probability simply 15 that she used to be “expressing a desire to commit suicide and/or attempting suicide,” frequently “shouting, crying and/or screaming,” “having hallucinations/delusions” and “being vexed (bowled over) or in a swear of alarm,” among several other signs symptoms indicative of psychological bother.
Whereas on this distressed swear, Polanco is supposed to occupy charged at an officer with her fist out, hitting their arm. Polanco used to be then taken to Elmhurst Sanatorium, the place she stayed for nine days — eight of which she spent in a psychiatric penal advanced ward.
Issues arose over the place penal advanced workers could possibly well tranquil place Polanco upon her return from the scientific institution to Rikers Island, in conserving with the sage. Whereas Polanco’s history of seizure disorder firstly prevented her from being popular for “a cell housing placement,” on Could in all probability in all probability simply 24, a CHS scientific doctor “cleared” her for solitary confinement, noting that “her situation has been stable.”
The BOC’s findings also show that DOC workers within the solitary confinement unit left Polanco on my own for stretches of 57 minutes, 47 minutes and 41 minutes on the day she died. DOC policy stipulates that inmates positioned in solitary confinement needs to be noticed every 15 minutes.
In its sage, the BOC laid out several concepts for DOC workers to prevent future inmate deaths while in custody, including calling on the division to earn a thought for rehousing of us attributable to interpersonal conflicts and particularly asking that transgender females be incorporated on the whole population items with cisgender females. The BOC also recommends that key scientific data be relayed between departments in a timely manner; this practice having now now not been implemented repeatedly in Polanco’s case.
“Our deepest condolences are with Layleen Polanco’s family and associates and we thank the Board of Correction for their time and diligence in preparing this sage,” a press begin from DOC commissioner Cynthia Brann equipped to TIME reads. “Now we occupy labored tirelessly to beget a correctional machine that is safer, more humane, and fairer, essentially reforming our housing structure to make certain that that that every person among us, with out reference to their gender identification, occupy the earn admission to to the resources they need. We’re dedicated to working with our companions at Correctional Health Services (CHS) to motivate all individuals in custody stable and we are fastidiously reviewing all the Board’s concepts.”
Polanco’s case has obtained renewed attention amid nationwide protests in opposition to police brutality and calls for reform to the policing and prison justice systems, following the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade, a Gloomy transgender man, this year.
Uprisings in opposition to police brutality occupy zeroed in on the communities most generally plagued by the violence, including Gloomy transgender females and men. On June 14, 2020 thousands gathered in Brooklyn, N.Y. to rally for Gloomy transgender lives — one day before the U.S. Supreme Courtroom, in a landmark ruling, acknowledged workers can’t be fired for being transgender or delighted.
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