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    Transgender inmate complains of treatment in jail

    7:46 AM, Jun 29, 2012   |    comments
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    INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (CNN/WISH) -- An inmate in an Indiana jail has ended up in isolation and it's not because of something she's done, it's because of who she is. Because she's a transgender inmate, jail administrators say they have to keep her separated from the general population for her own protection.

    After three months in isolation, this inmate claims to be shackled by far more than the cuffs that hold her ankles and wrists. She says she's shackled by a system of intolerance. Kylia Boswell says, "I feel less than a person."

    That's because she's spent the last three months alone in a cell, separated from the rest of the population. She feels like she's being punished for what she says, "For having breasts, for being a transsexual."

    Christopher Boswell, 22, prefers that we call her Kyliah. She's undergoing gender reassignment surgery, having been born a male but identifies a female.

    While Kyliah says that she's being held in segregation or isolation, the leaders here at the jail have another name for it. They call it protective custody. And they point out there are other inmates being isolated from the general population for their own protection. Vivian Benge says, "In an attempt to protect someone, the person is isolated to the point where they become depressed and often don't receive medications they are supposed to. There are a lot of problems with that particular approach."

    Vivian Benge is president of the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance or INTRAA. She's seen many cases like Kyliah's and taken some to court, but she prefers to work with facilities to help them develop transgender-sensitive policies, just like she did at ball memorial in Muncie two years ago after a transgender woman complained bitterly about being ridiculed in the ER.

    Benge says, "The hospital was able to work with us, they really wanted to work with us because they were appalled this had happened at their hospital."

    As for Kyliah, her trial date is set for the end of august, so she faces another two months in isolation. She says, "I feel like I should get treated equally."

    The jail is privately run by Corrections Corporation of America. The company released a statement saying their goal is to house inmates in the safest environment possible with the utmost respect for human rights.

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