Eyricka King, a transgender woman, had tried multiple times to get a letter out to her mother Kelly Harrison detailing her horrific experiences in prison. Her story has now gone viral after Harrison recorded a video reading from King’s letter and speaking on her daughters behalf.
“My daughter was brutally beat by officers,” Harrison ays. “I have seen it done to other transgenders in jail. . .They are beat, they are dragged out the house, thrown in the back of a van, beat again all the way to the box, denied medical treatment. . .I am not going to let this be swept underneath the rug with my daughter.”
King wrote how she had been repeatedly assaulted by both inmates and officers while in solitary confinement. She even feared being killed and having her death staged as a suicide.
“I need out of the box before it’s too late, I swear,” she wrote. “I think I might die in here, please help me.”
Out reports that this letter was King’s third attempt to reach her mother while the previous two had been torn to shreds by the guards.
“We are aware of the reported harassment toward Ms. King. The department is addressing the situation. Ms. King is not currently at Franklin Correctional Facility, and the reports are being actively investigated,” said a representative from the office of Jason Effman, Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Coordinator.
The story was soon picked up by celebrities and transgender rights activists, such as Janet Mock, who posted clips of Harrison’s video to her Instagram.
**UPDATE: Eyricka has been moved into protective custody (not solitary confinement) and an investigation is underway, according to @justiceforeyricka. Still, it's vital to remember so many trans folk are still being treated this way.** This #justiceforeyricka video broke my heart last night yet I still was able to sleep in my bed safely and comfortably — something Eyricka King (Thompson) has not been able to do. Eyricka is a black trans woman who is currently incarcerated by New York State. According to a letter she wrote (which took several attempts to get outside the correctional facility's walls) she has been physically and sexually abused and placed in solitary confinement. This is cruel and unjust yet all too usual punishment and treatment of trans women of color. YOU CAN HELP BY: 1. SHARING this video by @slaytv. 2. SAYING her name: #JusticeforEyricka 3. READING her letter from behind bars at @justiceforeyricka 4. CALLING the offices below to demand that Eyricka King (DIN: 16A4486) be moved to a facility where she can be in protective custody and not solitary confinement: 518-445-6176: Health Services Office in Albany (To report cases where a person is not being given appropriate medical attention) 518-457-3955 Jason Effman (Head of PREA in Albany) 518-457-2653 Office of Special Investigations 518-474-1010 Office of the Inspector General 5. SIGNING her petition on @changedotorg #justiceforeyricka #girlslikeus #twoc #transisbeautiful
King has now been moved to protective custody after multiple pleas from the public through social media posts and petitions. She also received medical care where doctors reportedly found that one of her breast implants had ruptured during an assault. Sadly, her experience is only one of the many examples of the harm transgender people face in the U.S. justice system.