To: Administrator Stem, New Jersey Department of Corrections, Governor’s Office, Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, Justin Hoffer Division of Civil Rights
From: Ms. Demi Minor 494475E
Date: January 31, 2022
For over a year I have been requesting treatment for my substance abuse issues. I have taken the assessment for the Hillcrest Drug Treatment Program, and the assessment supported me being in need of treatment. Within Edna, drug abuse is so common. Inmates are often caught sniffing by officers sniffing their medication, and other are known for selling their medication. The availability of prescribed medication is just sickening within Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, yet with the prison having been the center of inmate abuse, it’s understandable why many of the inmates choose to self-medicate. ECMF administration (Ms. Stem), along with staff in central offices, have denied me housing in this program. Recently via inquiry number 2200700, I was advised by Ms. Wagner “per Ms. Stem, the decision has not changed.” I am still not permitted to be housed in this program. The fact that I remain without disciplinary charges, and have been out of trouble does not matter to anyone. Instead they believe that transgender women are men, who have come here to manipulate. I have been advised by numerous staff that the reason why administration does not want me housed in these units is because they don’t want anyone to get raped. I know the feeling of Black children who were not allowed to ride the bus to school and instead had to walk, simply because of skin color; I know what it must be like to be treated like a predator.
I have never felt lower than how I feel. Edna Mahan Correctional Facility permits transgender women to be housed within the facility, but then treats them in ways that exacerbate the mental health conditions they have. My biggest fear is that another women who is transgender will eventually enter this prison and kill themselves because of how oppressive and discriminatory this prison is. Ms. Stem wants me to walk to the drug treatment program, because I cannot be housed there. All I can think about is the fact that it’s so cold outside, and that numerous inmates will ask me, why I am coming to the program from another unit when the majority if not all of the rest of the inmates are housed in the program. This is my enough point.
Perhaps, being African American, transgender, and diagnosed with gender dysphoria is not enough of a struggle. I have sought help for my problems, and I have to be told that the treatment that I will receive will be different. This has to stop somewhere. The fact is that the staff at EMCF have sexually harassed me, one of my complaints that has been substantiated by investigators. The fact is that while I was in North Hall another inmate would often masturbate in front of me. I had my neck grabbed, and was forced into situations that I had no way to escape from. What happens when an inmate who is here abuses another transgender woman? Does the administration think that it’s okay? I remember the abuse that I went through with another inmate who ECMF administration housed here. The inmate had already been known for forcing other inmates to perform oral sex on them in other facilities, but you know that as a survivor of rape, that did not stop the prison from housing this inmate with me, on my unit. What I am saying is that you hide behind a policy to hide sex abuse.
I just want this to be documented that Ms. Stem and others within central offices are now abusing transgender women, refusing to allow us equal housing. They believe that there is manipulation because of what? Because we are transgender? Please let me be frank, I did not choose to be transgender. I did not choose to try to castrate myself in the past, nor did I choose to get raped. You people think that this is an option, which we choose. You have numerous women who are housed here who have been found guilty of sexual abuse, others who have been charged with engaging in sexual behavior with others, and they are given the opportunity to be housed in the drug program or in Stowe, wherever, simply because they are labeled female at birth. Take L. Perez Carstarphen. She was charged under PREA, and the complaint was substantiated. Hence she is supposed to be identified as a perpetrator in the PREA system. I am not only housed around this inmate, but I was flat out told that no options exist from me. What is interesting is how investigator McKeenzee issued charges to this inmate and Rollins for harassing me through the window last year. Did anybody think about the fact that conflict exists? No, because they are too busy dismissing my housing concerns as manipulation tactics.
I am respectfully asking that this discriminatory housing practice cease!
CC: Governor’s Office
American Civil Liberties Union
Edna Mahan Correctional Facility PREA Manager