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All day call-in planned for transgender woman held in men’s prison

Kanautica Zayre-Brown

Supporters of Kanautica Zayre-Brown, a transgender woman being held in a men’s prison in Warren County, are holding an all day call-in Wednesday to secure her transfer to a women’s facility.

Last month, as the deadline to avoid a lawsuit from the ACLU approached, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety transferred Zayre-Brown from the Harnett County Correctional Institution. Not to a women’s prison, as she and the ACLU had requested, but to the smaller Warren Correctional Institution for men in Warren County, near the Virginia border.

The ACLU said it plans to bring a lawsuit in the matter.

Now, Zayre-Brown’s supporters plan mass call-ins to the offices of Governor Roy Cooper, Direct of Prisons Kenneth Lassiter, and Attorney General Josh Stein demanding that Zayre-Brown be transferred to a women’s facility immediately.

Last month Kendra Johnson, executive director of LGBTQ advocacy group Equality NC, said there is no excuse for DPS refusing this request.

“Transgender people have been incarcerated in this country for as long as we have had prison facilities,” Johnson said. “We can do better than this. It’s something that can be fixed. There were guidelines that were set forth previously. This is something that’s completely unnecessary and it shouldn’t at all be a political fight.”

“The DPS has the power to do the right thing,” Johnson said. “And to put Kanautica and six or seven other women into the correct facilities, if nothing else for their own protection, I would hope that folks would do the right thing. But we haven’t had a great track record on that happening.”

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