Ashley Diamond Home at Last
August 9, 2022 – Ashley Diamond, a Black transgender woman who has twice sued the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) for refusing to protect her from sexual assault or provide her with adequate medical care, was finally released from prison last week. She will serve the remainder of her sentence on parole.
“Although I’m elated to be released, I’m still damaged by what happened to me in prison and I’m worried about the people I left behind,” said Ms. Diamond. “I appreciate everyone who has helped and supported me. In many ways, the real challenges begin now.”
Ms. Diamond, 44, like many Black transgender people in the South, experienced decades of discrimination prior to her incarceration. She received a harsh 12-year sentence in 2012 after pawning a saw that turned out to be stolen at the request of her then boyfriend. While she is still subject to that sentence, the parole board’s decision allows her to escape the horror of being a woman in a men’s prison.
Despite gaining national recognition for her groundbreaking lawsuit against GDC seven years ago, systemic racism and transphobia continue against Ms. Diamond and other trans incarcerated people – especially Black women. The lack of resources available to Black trans women in Georgia contributed to Ms. Diamond’s reincarceration for violating her first parole when she sought care out of state in October 2019.
“Ashley is returning to a hostile world where trans people and people with felony convictions have difficulty securing housing and employment because of bias and stigma,” said Chinyere Ezie, a Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights who has represented Ms. Diamond in both her lawsuits. “Her courageous advocacy has shined a light on the violence and inequity that transgender people face behind bars everywhere. Now she must deal with the violence and inequity that transgender people face on the outside as well. We are relieved that Ashley is home so she can begin her long overdue journey toward healing, and we are determined to break this vicious cycle, so our work continues even with Ashley’s release.”
Ms. Diamond says she plans to release a single she recorded in prison when she won a song-writing contest earlier this year, and she is looking for other ways to share her story.
“I don’t want the whole experience to have been in vain,” Ms. Diamond continued. “I plan to keep advocating for Black and trans women and fighting against the violence we face. I hope sharing my story can make a difference to my community.”
More information about Ashley Diamond’s case can be found here.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.