RALEIGH – The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina is demanding that the state Department of Public Safety immediately transfer Kanautica Zayre-Brown to a women’s facility and provide her with all medically necessary health care and accommodations to ensure her safety. Ms. Zayre-Brown, a woman who is transgender, has been incarcerated at Harnett Correctional Institution, a men’s prison in Lillington, for more than a year. For decades, federal law has recognized the particular vulnerability of women who are transgender in men’s prisons. Despite Ms. Zayre-Brown’s ongoing pleas to be transferred, DPS has continued to incarcerate her exclusively in men’s facilities in violation of well-established federal law. Following public attention to her case, Ms. Zayre-Brown was moved into solitary confinement where she is at further risk of adverse health consequences.
“The Department of Public Safety has a constitutional obligation to protect people in their custody from harm. The current situation is not only illegal but it is untenable for Ms. Zayre-Brown as she is experiencing escalating distress regarding her safety as a woman in an all-male prison,” said Sneha Shah, Staff Attorney with the ACLU of North Carolina. “We are demanding that DPS correct this injustice, protect Ms. Zayre-Brown, and move her to a women’s facility immediately without subjecting her to further isolation or retaliation of any kind.”
The ACLU is asking the North Carolina Department of Public Safety to take immediate action to ensure Ms. Zayre-Brown’s safety.