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Sacramento County Pays $58K to Settle Rape Suit Brought by Transgender Detainee

In June 2006, Jackie Tates was paid $58,333.34 by Sacramento County to settle a federal suit filed by Tates, a pre-operative (male-to-female) transgender inmate, alleging that in November 2000, while housed at the Sacramento County Main Jail pending trial, she was assaulted, battered, and raped by an unidentified male inmate whom Sheriff’s Department personnel had allowed to access her cell.

Three years earlier, a previous federal lawsuit filed by Tates concluded when Sacramento County Sheriff Lou Blanas agreed to change the scheme used to classify transgender inmates. Under the former policy, jail staff treated transgender inmates in a manner ordinarily reserved only for the most dangerous inmates (certain gang members). They were not allowed to interact with other inmates (or even with each other); prohibited from attending religious services; received less dayroom access (shower, exercise, phone, recreation, etc.) than other inmates (and even then, often only late at night, while others were asleep); harassed and subjected to “serious discrimination.”

Tates described the humiliating experience of the weekly “laundry call” when she and other transgender inmates were forced to walk bare-breasted to a laundry station, through a gauntlet of male inmates and guards, with only a towel wrapped around their waists, subjected to cat-calls, threats, and offensive epithets.

Under the revised classification policy, Sheriff Blanas grudgingly agreed to allow transgender inmates to participate in dayroom and outdoor recreation activities with other transgender inmates.

Sources: Tates v. Sacramento County, U.S. District Court (E.D. Cal.), case no. CV-5-03-1950 DFL GGH P, First Amended Complaint, Jan. 16, 2004; Release of Claims and Settlement Agreement, May 10, 2006; Stipulation of Dismissal, June 5, 2006; Tates v. Blanas, U.S. District Court (E.D. Cal.), case no. CIV 5-00-2539 OMP P, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, March 6, 2003; Defendant’s Proposed Plan Re Classification of Transgender Inmates, April 1, 2003; Order, May 19, 2003; Judgment, May 19, 2003. 

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Related legal cases

Tates v. Sacramento County

Tates v. Blanas