Whitney Washington

  • Hosted by The Project on Addressing Prison Rape
  • Sponsored by Littler Mendelson PC, Uber Technologies, Inc.
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school American University, Washington College of Law
  • Issue area LGBTQ+ Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2017
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Whitney works with incarcerated transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) individuals to address the issues they face in prison, specifically access to hormones and other medical needs, access to gender affirming clothing, and reporting sexual assault.

TGNC people in custody (PIC) are eight times more likely than the general inmate population to experience sexual abuse by a staff member, and are 12 times more likely to experience sexual abuse by another inmate. Further, TGNC PIC are often denied access to medical needs, which leaves them thirty times more likely to attempt suicide. My project works with TGNC PIC to ensure that they are safe, able to access remedies when they experience sexual assault, and able to gain access to life-saving medical treatment.

Fellowship Highlights

In the first year, Whitney has:

  • Received and responded to letters from 80 TGNC PIC
  • Filed third party grievances with facilities on behalf of five individuals
  • Successfully advocated on behalf of a prisoner, resulting in a Prison Rape Elimination Coordinator (PREA) Coordinator personally checking on the client
  • Prepared training materials for and conducted five volunteer trainings, including two at Uber, Inc., recruiting 40 attorneys and law students to respond to letters from TGNC PIC
  • Built connections with local and national organizations across 16 states

What’s Next

In the next year, Whitney plans to:

  • Continue to respond to letters and file grievances on behalf of TGNC PIC
  • Continue to train and engage volunteers in responding to letters
  • Prepare a shadow report to supplement the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ official report
  • Draft a pro se packet to assist TGNC PIC advocating on their own behalf
  • Continue build connections with legal and national organizations

Media

40 Under 40: Queer Women of Washington

How can legal professionals support transgender prisoners? Whit Washington has an answer.

DC: Fundraiser – Project for Transgender Incarcerated Survivors

Meet Other Fellows Like Whitney

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Jalise Burt

Host: New York Civil Liberties Union

Sponsor: Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel

Corey Prachniak

Host: Whitman-Walker Health

Sponsor: Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Jason Ortega

Host: Los Angeles LGBT Center

Sponsor: Apple, Inc., O'Melveny & Myers LLP

Photo of Rafael Varela

Rafael Varela

Host: Community & Economic Development Clinic at CUNY School of Law

Sponsor: The Paul Rapoport Foundation

Current Fellow