Georgia Lets Transgender Inmate Go Early

     ATLANTA (CN) – Six months after she sued prison officials, a transgender inmate in Georgia was granted parole Monday and released from Augusta State Medical Prison.
     Thirty-seven-year-old Ashley Diamond, of Rome, was three years into an 11-year sentence for burglary. She sued in February , claiming she had been sexually assaulted in male prisons eight times and denied the female hormones she had taken for 17 years before her incarceration.
     The Southern Poverty Law Center last week filed documents in support of her injunction. It said in a statement this week that Diamond was “overjoyed” to be out of prison, but that the attacks left her “emotionally and physically scarred.”
     In the lawsuit, Diamond accused prison officials of retaliating against her by transferring her to the maximum security Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, which houses more dangerous inmates.
     In April, a federal judge in Macon declined to order prison officials to take steps to protect her. Diamond filed additional paperwork on July 30, claiming an inmate threatened to retaliate because she reported a sexual assault.
     Diamond’s first parole hearing had been scheduled for November. The Southern Poverty Law Center said the Justice Department has filed documents suggesting that Georgia’s policies and practices with transgender inmates are unconstitutional.
     State Board of Pardon and Paroles spokesman Steve Hayes said the parole board decided on Aug. 1 to release her, and that Diamond’s parole was not connected to her lawsuit.

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