A California prison psychologist has filed a lawsuit against the state of California, US.
Lori Jesperson alleges colleagues threatened her and she was demoted after reporting the mistreatment of gay and trans inmates.
The prison doctor said her reports of these incidents did not receive appropriate attention.
Correctional officers locked Jesperson in a room with dangerous criminals on two occasions, according to the lawsuit.
Jesperson filed the case Monday (14 Aug) at the US District Court for the Eastern District of California.
This happened after she reported the abuse of LGBTI inmates at the California Medical Facility.
Jespersen has worked for the corrections department since 2008. She has been at the Vacaville prison for the last eight years.
The lawsuit also claims another officer insulted Jespersen. They attempted to provoke inmates to attack her. Officers said: ‘She needs to be reminded where she’s at.’
Felicia Medina and Jennifer Orthwein are Jesperson’s attorneys. They said the psychologist ‘wants her lawsuit to compel the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to better protect gay and transgender inmates.’
Orthwein said: ‘Jespersen wants to fight for members of her community that are being horribly treated and abused at the CMF. For her, this is about seeing people be held accountable.’
Jespersen listed in the lawsuit incidents of abuse against gay and trans inmates.
One is of an officer allegedly failing to lock a shower door in March 2016, which enabled a prisoner to rape a gay inmate.
Another correctional officer is claimed to have told a group of trans women: ‘You’re no woman. Your breasts can’t give milk and you will never have a man’ and ‘I don’t agree with your lifestyle and I never will, and this is a men’s prison, you are not “she.”‘
Jespersen has also claimed three other employees ‘outed’ a trans inmate by disclosing personal information about her on Facebook. They called her ‘he/she’ and ‘that thing.’
Correctional officers have compelled trans inmates to strip in the open and denied them privacy screens, Jespersen stated.
Jespersen took a leave of absence due to her mistreatment. This happened in June 2016. The prison demoted her to a desk position on her return, according to claims.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation have declined to comment when GSN contacted them.