Trans woman raped 14 times in men’s prison finally released after suing state twice

White House: Detaining trans women in men's prison 'cruel punishment'

A Black trans women who alleged she was sexually assaulted more than 14 times while incarcerated in a men’s prison has been freed. 

Ashley Diamond was released from a Georgia, US prison on 1 August and will serve the remainder of her 12-year sentence on parole. 

Diamond was sentenced on burglary charges in 2012 after attempting to pawn a saw stolen by her then-boyfriend, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) which represented her along with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

She has sued Georgia twice over the abusive conditions she faced while in prison – in 2015, which resulted in the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) being rebuked by a federal court and the US Department of Justice for its treatment of trans people.

In December 2020, Diamond filed a lawsuit against the Department of Corrections for a second time, after alleging it failed to protect her from sexual assault and did not provide her with adequate healthcare while she was in prison.

The 44-year-old said she is “elated to be released” but “still damaged” by her time in prison and “worried” about the people she left behind.

“I appreciate everyone who has helped and supported me. In many ways, the real challenges begin now,” she said.

Determined to break this vicious cycle.

Senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, Chinyere Ezie, said: “Ashley is returning to a hostile world where trans people and people with felony convictions have difficulty securing housing and employment because of bias and stigma.

“Her courageous advocacy has shined a light on the violence and inequity that transgender people face behind bars everywhere.” 

She said Diamond must now deal with “violence and inequality that transgender people face on the outside as well”.

Ezie said the CCR is “relieved” Diamond is home and can begin her “long overdue journey toward healing”, adding: “[The department is] determined to break this vicious cycle, so our work continues even with Ashley’s release.”

Ashley Diamond plans to release a single she recorded while in prison and is also looking for other ways to share her story. 

The 44-year-old said: “I don’t want the whole experience to have been in vain. 

“I plan to keep advocating for Black and trans women and fighting against the violence we face. I hope sharing my story can make a difference to my community.”

PinkNews has contacted the Georgia Department of Corrections for comment.