CeCe McDonald to serve out sentence in male prison
Chrishaun "CeCe" McDonald, the transgender woman who pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter last month, will remain in a male prison for the duration of her sentence, despite safety concerns from her attorneys and supporters.
Minnesota prisons do follow transgender placement guidelines that could have potentially transferred McDonald to a female prison, but it was determined Monday that she did not qualify, says John Schadl, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Corrections.
Schadl couldn't go into specifics, given the process is based on a psychological and medical evaluation.
"This doesn't just apply to Chrishaun," says Schadl of the placement policy. "This applies to every offender that comes into the custody of the commissioner."
Last summer, McDonald was charged with second-degree murder for fatally stabbing Dean Schmitz in the heart with a pair of scissors during a street fight. Her attorneys and supporters argued she was the victim of an attack by Schmitz and his friends, and that she acted only in self defense. In May, McDonald pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter, and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
Read more in our May 9 cover story on the case, "The Edge of Doubt."
She has been housed in the St. Cloud prison (a male facility) since her June 4 sentencing, but her attorneys wanted her transferred to a female prison.
It's unclear exactly where she'll end up, but we should know in the next month or so.
Schadl says the Department of Corrections often takes extra precautions to make sure transgender inmates are safe, which can include housing them a single cell and allowing them to shower alone.
He says there hasn't been a "substantiated" attack on a transgender inmate in a Minnesota prison at least since 2008.
"It doesn't mean that it can't happen, but we have a very good track record in ensuring offenders are incarcerated safely," he says.
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