During the 16 months Jessica Sunderland was incarcerated at the Riverside Correctional Facility in Suffolk County, New York, jail officials refused to give her the hormones she had been taking for two years. In response, in August 2013, Sunderland filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Suffolk County, arguing that the jail’s failure to provide her hormones violated her constitutional rights.
In October of this year, Sunderland won her case. As reported by Melissa Gira Grant at the Appeal, a jury agreed that Sunderland’s constitutional rights had been violated, and awarded her $280,000 in damages, plus an additional $75,000 in punitive damages against Vincent Geraci, the jail’s medical director. It’s a groundbreaking decision, according to Sunderland’s attorney Joel Wertheimer.