Transgender woman receives ex-gratia payment for imprisonment in a male prison

Poor prison conditions for transgender woman

Corrective Services Prison Guard towerLayla* is a transgender woman who identified as female for more than two decades. Police charged her with non-violent offences and held her on remand until her court date. Despite clearly conveying her gender identity, Layla went to a men’s prison. For this, she would later seek a ex-gratia payment.

Layla went into solitary confinement under ‘protection’ conditions. Despite her low-level offending, she was in lockdown for 23 hours a day. Authorities placed her in a cell between two of the state’s most notorious offenders. They were serving life sentences for violent crimes including rape, murder and mass murder. Layla experienced trauma by her exposure to these inmates under the cell doors, spending 56 days in these conditions.

During her time on remand, Layla made several requests for a transfer to a women’s prison. Authorities refused to comply with these requests.

Ex-gratia payment compensation received

Layla suffered a lesser standard of care as a result of her gender identity. She engaged O’Brien Solicitors to seek compensation for her experience.

O’Brien Solicitors sent a letter to the Department of Corrective Services requesting ex-gratia compensation for Layla’s experience. The grounds were that Layla’s segregation was a form of further punishment rather than ‘protection’, and that she did not get the reasonable accommodations she required.

Ex-gratia payments are discretionary payments made by the relevant Minister who only grants them in exceptional circumstances. O’Brien Solicitors successfully obtained payment on Layla’s behalf, with Layla receiving favourable compensation.

*We change names to protect the identity of our clients.

Contact our lawyers if you consider that you need compensation for a wrong done to you by the State.


O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors
p: 02 9261 4281
a: Level 4, 219-223 Castlereagh St,
Sydney NSW 2000

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