liberty and justice for all?

Would you put a woman in an all-male dorm?  Absolutely not. How about an all-boys school?  Also a no. Then why is it acceptable to put a woman in a men’s prison?

Chelsea Manning, a former US Soldier, was convicted in 2013 for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. She has been sentenced to 35 years in jail, of which she has served three. Manning currently resides in the US Disciplinary Barracks, located in Kansas. She is also transgender.

Despite identifying as female, Manning has been placed into the male prison based on her biological sex. She has requested many times for her situation to be changed, but she still remains in Kansas. In 2015, the government permitted for her to take hormones, but she is still being forced to meet male dress standards and is not being treated for her gender dysphoria.

Just this past July, Manning attempted to kill herself because things weren’t changing. She survived, and as of yesterday has started a hunger strike that will either result in changes in her treatment or possibly her death. The fact that anybody has to go to these lengths while petitioning for change infuriates me.

Chelsea Manning is not being treated like a human. She is given food and shelter, but there is absolutely no respect for her sanity, her rights, or any of her needs. Murderers are treated better than she is. Torture may have been banned for interrogations in 2015, but the mental anguish Manning is being put through is completely legal.

How could anyone see this as an acceptable thing to do to another human? Manning is in a maximum security prison, though she poses no violent threat. She could just as easily be placed in a co-ed prison, one where the other inmates aren’t a consistent threat to her. No biological woman would face these problems, so why is she any different?

Manning has been placed in an environment where both her emotional and physical well-being have been compromised. While it makes sense to punish her for her crimes, it makes absolutely no sense to put her through this awful ordeal. And the eighth amendment protects Manning, as well as all imprisoned Americans, from “cruel and unusual punishment”. Though they don’t get all the Constitutional rights a typical American would, they are at least given a minimum standard of living. Yet Manning is getting neither of those.

The US government’s Constitution itself has said that the treatment of Chelsea Manning is unacceptable, so why is it that the prison system is still allowing it? It horrifies me that they can do this to US citizens. America prides itself on “liberty and justice for all,” but this is not justice. Not in the slightest.

 

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