In a surprise move, the Georgia Department of Corrections has released transgender woman Ashley Diamond after she served 3 years of a twelve-year sentence.
Ashley was released after the SPLC filed a lawsuit suing the department for a plethora of inhumanities imposed on her while incarcerated. Last year Ashley smuggled out 11 short videos documenting her ill treatment, but the GDC maintains that her extraordinarily early release was just a matter of timing and circumstance.
Steve Hayes, the parole board spokesman, described early releases as unusual, but told NBC that Diamond’s parole had nothing to do with her lawsuit.
“It’s based on the board members’ review of the case file,” he said.
The SPLC doesn’t think the GDC statement rings true issuing a press release which reads in part.
Ashley Diamond, the transgender inmate who sued the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) after being denied a safe environment and medically necessary gender dysphoria treatment, was released today after more than three years in prison, where she was housed with male inmates and sexually assaulted eight times.
Diamond, 37, was released from Augusta State Medical Prison just five days after the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed additional documents supporting her motion for preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed in February. The papers, which include sworn statements from multiple transgender inmates, demonstrate that the GDC continues to systematically deny appropriate care to transgender inmates, despite having earlier announced a policy change.
“I’m overjoyed to be with my family again and out of harm’s way,” Diamond said. “Although the systematic abuse and assaults I faced for more than three years have left me emotionally and physically scarred, I’ll continue to fight for justice and to shine a light on the gross mistreatment of transgender inmates in Georgia and nationwide.”
Diamond began serving an 11-year sentence for a nonviolent offense in November 2012. She was eligible for parole this November but was released to family members at 8:45 a.m. Aug 31, 2015.