Transgender inmate sues Ga. prison over haircut

A transgender inmate claims in a lawsuit she was handcuffed and forced to endure a haircut that left her bleeding

By Terry Richards
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA, Ga. — A transgender inmate at Valdosta State Prison claims in a federal lawsuit she was handcuffed and forced to endure a haircut that left her bleeding.

Benjamin R. Corporan, 32, filed a pair of lawsuits in June 2017, according to court records. Corporan — listed in prison records as male — considers herself a transgender woman and claimed in one lawsuit she was denied the right to “express herself” as a woman at Valdosta State Prison, according to the lawsuit’s filings.

The other lawsuit dealt specifically with the hair-cutting incident, claiming on May 14, 2017, then-warden Stanley Williams ordered his staff to cut her hair short because “this is an all-male prison,” leaving bloody cuts on her face and head, according to court filings.

Corporan claims the warden disliked her and ordered the haircut to get back at her after she wrote letters of complaint about him to his superiors, according to court documents.

The federal court for the Middle District of Georgia ordered both lawsuits merged into a single case as they involved similar claims.

A magistrate judge originally recommended the entire complaint be dismissed but was overruled by a district court which allowed a claim of violation of Eighth Amendment rights to proceed. The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits “cruel and unusual” punishments.

The defendants now include Williams, the Georgia Department of Corrections, several doctors and other corrections officials.

On Sept. 5, the court set limits on the “discovery” period — when each side seeks evidence — following a motion by Williams, through the state Attorney General’s office, to dismiss the case.

In the dismissal request, Williams claims the law gives him immunity from lawsuits, that Corporan had failed to show facts supporting the retaliation claim, that she failed to use all of the administrative grievance processes at the prison before filing the lawsuit and that Corporan had failed “to state a federal claim upon which relief can be granted.”

Monday, Williams filed a brief supporting his dismissal request, saying Corporan had missed court-imposed filing deadlines for replies to the former warden’s request for dismissal.

The state corrections department said it does not comment on pending litigation.

Corporan is serving a 15-year sentence for attempted aggravated sodomy and five counts of aggravated child molestation, according to corrections department records.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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