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How can it be appropriate to have violent male prisoners in guarded by women?

(21 Posts)
ShootsFruitAndLeaves Sun 14-Jun-20 18:38:09


It claims there

"New Video Reveals How Jail Guards Reacted When They Found A Transgender Woman Unresponsive In Her Cell. She Later Died."

"Then, there’s a 47-minute gap until an officer checks on Polanco at 2:27 p.m. At 2:45 p.m., two correction officers, apparently seeing something was wrong, open Polanco’s cell, start calling in to her. Then they both laugh for an unknown reason."

However the official report tells a very different story:

Polanco's family claimed:

"Her mother and siblings described her as loving and gentle, citing her love of animals and the care she provided them. "


"The 2019 case stemmed from a dispute with a taxi driver wherein Ms. Polanco was alleged to have refused to pay the fare and bitten the taxi driver. "

Polanco was in prison and not out on bail because $500 bail was not posted.

The reason for this bail was that

"On nearly all of her cases, Ms. Polanco bench warranted multiple times. Her rap sheet shows five failures to appear as well"

It is noted that

"First, if an incarcerated person’s securing order indicates that they are transgender they start off with a presumption of being housed at a female facility. If the incarcerated person indicates that they want to be housed at a female facility they can be sent to either the Transgender Housing Unit of a female facility or they can refuse that option. If they refuse the transgender housing facility option, they can also be housed in the General Population of the gender with which they identify, so long as they are approved by the Transgender/Intersex Housing Committee. "

and in this case, the prisoner opted to go to transgender unit within female prison.

It is apparent that despite this being a 'transgender unit', all of the staff are biological women. Easily overcome by biological males.

After arriving on April 16:

" Ms. Polanco [on May 6], striking the other incarcerated individual multiple times in the face, causing a laceration. "

"On May 14, 2019, DOC noted that Ms. Polanco was showing “radical changes in behavior,” "

and on May 15

"Ms. Polanco advanced towards a Correction Officer and made hand gestures towards the officer’s facial area.13 As she was approaching, the officer ordered Ms. Polanco to stop and the officer extended
her right arm. Ms. Polanco then struck the correction officer in the right forearm, "

So Polanco assaulted a fellow criminal, this was noted as alarming, and the very next day assaulted a female correctional officer.

"After the incident, Ms. Polanco was found sitting on the floor of the intake cell, refusing to engage with staff. That same day, Ms. Polanco was transported to Elmhurst Hospital where she was reportedly being aggressive and refusing to cooperate with hospital staff"

"After evaluation at Elmhurst Hospital, Ms. Polanco was transferred to the Psychiatric Prison Ward at Elmhurst Hospital for psychiatric monitoring. On May 24, 2019, Ms. Polanco returned to Rose M. Singer Center."

and on May 30 was given a punishment of 20 days in a solitary cell.

On the day of death, June 7:

"At 10:45AM Ms. Polanco left her cell and was escorted out of the housing area to the clinic so that she could inquire about when she would receive her next hormone treatment"

and then lunch was served and collected at noon. The video footage shown above shows the female staff understandably nervous at this known violent prisoner, and they peered through the window and noted that Polanco appeared to be listening to music.

When they became worried when there was no movement, they opened the cell and called out, and when there was no answer they summoned medical staff, but did not approach Polanco because as women they were naturally and rightly scared of this violent man.

"Williams notified Captain McZick that they needed help at the cell. Williams and Gales say they were hesitant to enter the cell due to Ms. Polanco’s previous assault on staff; therefore, Captain McZick was notified to prop the door open while both officers entered Ms. Polanco’s cell. When Captain McZick got to the cell, she held the door open while the two officers entered to investigate. "

So they had one woman guarding the door, while two more women investigated the known violent male inmate. No male staff anywhere.

So in summary a biological male was admitted to what is admittedly a unit for other biological males, but staffed by women who signed up to guard biological females, not biological males. Said biological male was in prison for a violent attack on a taxi driver, and then attacked a fellow inmate, and struck a prison officer as well. The women guards were naturally afraid of this biological male because of the inherent strength advantage of males over females, greater propensity violence, and known history of violence. As a result, these women were incapable of responding in the interests of this prisoner (to prevent death following a seizure) , and the prisoner died.

So the prisoner's welfare was directly compromised by being in a female prison as opposed to a male prison, even in a 'transgender unit', and if incarcerated in a male prison, may have received better attention as at 5'3" and 161 pounds, it is unlikely that male prison guards would have been so frightened of this person.

It is worth noting that the likes of Buzzfeed 'News' make no attempt to report the salient facts in this case, and indeed attempt to cast doubt on them.

"The report said Polanco was placed in isolation for 20 days after allegedly assaulting another inmate and getting into a scuffle with a correction officer. "

In fact there was nothing 'allegedly' about it, as this had been acknowledged by Polanco, and the matter had been dealt with in a hearing and Polanco found guilty of injuring another inmate.

They also claim

"It comes as the nation is reckoning with systemic racism in how law enforcement officials — including police and prison guards — treat Black, LGBTQ, Latinx, and people of color."

yet the prison guards were black

and ignore the reason for the bail (repeatedly not turning up to face criminal charges in court)

they claim

"the officers' laughter [was] “unfathomable, and it’s really just a symbol of the complete disregard the entire system had for Layleen.”"

yet there is no reason to believe the laughter had anything to do with the inmate's death, nor that they had any inkling that a 27 year old inmate had died, from the prison door. It is vanishingly unlikely that the two black female officers thought that the black transgender inmate had died at the point they laughed. And indeed blaming black staff for this person dying, as white male Buzzfeed journalist Tom Namako does, is not appropriate, as it seems to me that the ultimate responsibility for the endangering of the safety of black female prison staff as well as black transgender prisoners lies with white male Mayor, Bill de Blasio, who signed both the policies (in 2016 and 2018) that allowed this to happen.

OP’s posts: |
ShootsFruitAndLeaves Tue 23-Jun-20 19:05:42

This was the DA's report

The BOC's report is different

"Ms. Polanco applied for transgender housing, and on April 18 moved into one of the two Transgender Housing Unit (THU) dorms at RMSC. On April 30, Ms. Polanco suffered a seizure in the middle of the night in her dorm and was transported to the facility clinic"

"On May 2, following interpersonal conflict in her dorm, DOC transferred Ms. Polanco to the other THU dorm at RMSC. On May 4, she suffered another middle-of-the-night seizure and was again transported to the facility clinic. "

"While visiting RMSC’s main clinic on May 6, Ms. Polanco had a physical altercation with someone from her former THU dorm. "

"On the same day as the disciplinary hearing, Ms. Polanco was involved in another fight with someone in her dorm"

So Polanco fought with someone in one dorm, went to the clinic, fought with someone there, then went to the other dorm, and fought with someone there as well


"After lunch, Ms. Polanco charged at the officer with her fist out, striking the officer’s arm. "

"Due to Ms. Polanco’s history of interpersonal conflict in the two THU dorms, DOC had difficulty identifying an appropriate place to house her upon her return to RMSC on May 24. On the evening of her return, the RMSC Tour Commander and several other facility personnel discussed over email various housing possibilities, including whether Ms. Polanco could be transferred to a male facility, placed in Protective Custody, or placed in PSEG [punitive segregation] to serve her 20-day sentence for the May 6 infraction. "


"DOC should articulate an action plan for rehousing people transferred out of Special Consideration Units due to interpersonal conflict, including placement of transwomen in General Population units with cis-women. "

So in other words if you fight with every person in the transgender unit, they are recommending placing the violent males with women!?


How the fuck is it women's job to take punches from men ?

OP’s posts: |
ShootsFruitAndLeaves Tue 23-Jun-20 19:06:35

Like, shit, if you fight with people in BOTH transgender dorms AND in the clinic, then evidence is you are a violent psycho, and being with 'ciswomen' isn't going to help things.

OP’s posts: |
ShootsFruitAndLeaves Tue 23-Jun-20 20:03:41

And the outright lies are breathtaking

> According to the NBC News report, Polanco was placed in punitive confinement for assaulting an officer, but solitary is also frequently used as a way to protect trans women from the threat of male prisoners. This threat exists because trans women are often housed in men’s jails.

This is not true. Polanco was in solitary for assaulting a prisoner. Not an officer. And Polanco was in a women's prison, there were no men. It was if anything to protect fellow transwomen from Polanco.

> She was in jail because she wasn’t able to make her $500 bail. She was arrested because she missed court dates as part of an alternative-to-incarceration program after a previous arrest for sex work. Sex work can be a vital mode of economic survival for trans women.

No, 'she' was arrested for biting a taxi driver. This is a matter of fact.

Not for missing court dates. And having missed the 'get-out-of-jail-free' option for the prostitution (and crack pipe) arrest, it is no surprise to find that 'you go to jail'

OP’s posts: |
OneEpisode Wed 24-Jun-20 08:43:41

this is a UK death of a trans prisoner.. Which of course was properly, independently investigated. And the results published.
There were prison service deficiencies which may have contributed to the death.
Latham has only recently become Joanna and was in a male prison, and because of the danger to prison staff formally needed “4 person unlock” all the staff wearing PPE.

OneEpisode Wed 24-Jun-20 08:48:34

The tragedy of Joanne’s death was widely reported. It is also in Alison Phipps

OneEpisode Wed 24-Jun-20 08:58:17

Sorry that posted too soon. Alison quotes the tragedy of Joanne’s death as one of the things feminists got wrong.
The detail of Joanne’s tragic life isn’t mentioned. Joanne briefly converted to Islam, reversed it, and was briefly identified as female, then the sad suicide.
It is not clear how the female estate would have been the right place for this prisoner, and how they could have kept this prisoner safe.

ShootsFruitsAndLeaves Mon 31-Aug-20 19:26:01

NYC has now paid out $5.9 million to the family of the deceased

BoomBoomsCousin Tue 01-Sep-20 00:33:33

Even a prison staffed by biologically female guards ought to be able to handle a 5'3", 161 lb biologically male prisoner. At that height and weight, even though biologically male, Polanco will not have been stronger than all the female prisoners they've had go through. And female police officers handle male suspects all the time, they don't stand back and wait for male officers to arrive. Dealing with violent prisoners/suspects requires numbers and resources but not necessarily men.

The prison may have been understaffed, there may have been too little training or other resources that were required for safe custody and that may be because they didn't take the changed physical profile of transgender women into account (but equally likely to be because the standards in US prisons are notoriously poor). But I am upset to see an argument that women shouldn't be in this job on the FWR board.

Mollscroll Tue 01-Sep-20 07:16:57

Men’s strength is not a function of their weight and height. It’s a function of their maleness.

BoomBoomsCousin Tue 01-Sep-20 07:24:33

They aren’t the only factors, but weight and height factor into everyone’s strength. Men are, on average, stronger than women, but there will have been women in that jail who were stronger because at that height and weight, Polanco wouldn’t have been near the higher end of the male strength curve.

Mollscroll Tue 01-Sep-20 08:18:04

It’s marginal compared to maleness. But sure. Let’s put a tall, heavy woman in a ring with a lightweight boxer and see what happens.

I agree prison guards probably need to use strength sometimes. Ditto police officers. But that doesn’t mean a woman will be able to restrain a man. My 11 year old son is inches shorter than me and two thirds my weight. He can almost overpower me and within six months I will be completely defenceless against him.

Babdoc Tue 01-Sep-20 09:15:34

Females can be trained in techniques to overpower and restrain violent males - as I recall from my years as a doctor, the nurses at our psych hospital all had regular updates on the different types of safe “holds” for patients sitting, standing or lying. Female prison officers just need to immobilise the prisoner long enough to apply handcuffs, similar to female police officers.
If this is not felt to be safe, then it should be possible to rota at least one male officer per shift, to help cover violent incidents.
This is a different issue to the vexed question of where to imprison trans offenders. Obviously they should never be incarcerated with women prisoners, who have not been trained in self defence, should not have to share showers or sleeping accommodation with male bodies, and are entitled to safety, privacy and dignity.
A separate trans prison unit is the ideal - not only does it keep transwomen safe from male prisoners and women prisoners safe from trans, but it removes any incentive for violent predatory male prisoners to pretend to be trans and get transferred to a women’s prison in order to sexually assault the inmates.

Mollscroll Tue 01-Sep-20 09:24:19

Yes I'm sure that's true. I don't doubt their training or professionalism. I'm just objecting to the argument that small men are the same as women.

CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 01-Sep-20 16:37:53

Even a prison staffed by biologically female guards ought to be able to handle a 5'3", 161 lb biologically male prisoner. But in an enclosed space with no room for additional back up? With that recent history of aggression against women?


Female prison officers just need to immobilise the prisoner I have been on that training, more than once. There is no just about it! Especially not in an enclosed space!

Whatever your thoughts on that aspect of it... this is just another aspect of the whole TRA maneuvering that needed to be discussed properly, all safeguarding issues out in the open. This was not unforseeable and this transwoman is the victim of the same bollocks that women in prison have been.

Apollo440 Tue 01-Sep-20 16:48:29

I've seen a 5'2 male take out a 6' male. The aggression was staggering. Size has little to do with strength.

BoomBoomsCousin Tue 01-Sep-20 16:55:46

But in an enclosed space with no room for additional back up?

They will have the same issue with some of their stronger biologically female prisoners. But you wouldn’t want to send in a single guard to deal with a violent prisoner even if she were female and 100lbs. It’s too chaotic and easy for the prisoner to get a good blow in even if, ultimately, they’d be subdued by the single guard. In this case they called in another officer to watch and maintain a route to fall back so they could have two officers enter the cell. Which is a sensible approach and likely what would have happened in a male prison. The issue (in part) seems to be that this wasn’t quickly available to them which indicates they aren’t staffed/managed well enough to deal with emergencies with violent prisoners.

CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 01-Sep-20 17:01:22

They will have the same issue with some of their stronger biologically female prisoners. I get that, it's not rocket science. But the immediate history of this specific prisoner made better staffing essential.

As I also said in that post... it isn't only women who are hurt by TRA posturing and those too quick to cede to them. Organisational capture is not helping anyone!

This is another of those issues that could have been prevented by open and honest discussion, without all the TRA grandstanding.

BoomBoomsCousin Tue 01-Sep-20 17:02:10

I've seen a 5'2 male take out a 6' male. The aggression was staggering. Size has little to do with strength.

Size gives leverage, increases the amount of muscle mass you can carry and increases range. In terms of fighting it can be a big advantage if used well. That doesn’t mean it’s the only factor or that those other factors can’t beat it. A 5’3” 161 lb male is Almost certainly going to be stronger than a 5’3” 161 lb female, but that doesn’t make them stronger than every woman who has gone through the prison.

ShootsFruitsAndLeaves Tue 01-Sep-20 17:10:42

> But I am upset to see an argument that women shouldn't be in this job on the FWR board.

That wasn't the argument. Women working in women's prison did not sign up to guard men.

BoomBoomsCousin Tue 01-Sep-20 20:36:58


> But I am upset to see an argument that women shouldn't be in this job on the FWR board.

That wasn't the argument. Women working in women's prison did not sign up to guard men.

It was part of the argument being made.

As for the officers not signing up for guarding men - that isn't clear. Riker's Island is a large complex housing both men and women in several different jails. It's part of the NYC Department of Corrections. Male and female officers are not barred from particular jails on the basis of their sex. It's unlikely they apply directly to a jail for a particular position and the contract is with that jail for that particular position only. Public sector hiring in big cities in the US tends not to work like that. It may be they apply to the Department of Corrections to become an officer and then are assigned a position based solely on operational requirements Or they may be posted based on preference and seniority but don't have a right to their preferred posting (which seems most likely for a union job like this based on how similar public sector NYC jobs like police and teaching are done).

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