Trans Woman Who Died at Rikers Island Prison Was in Solitary: Report

A transgender woman who died in New York’s Rikers Island prison last week was being held in solitary confinement when she died, The City reports. Layleen Polanco was pronounced dead in her cell Friday afternoon, reportedly around an hour after a prison officer noticed she was unconscious. The exact cause of her death hasn’t yet been determined. She was in the women’s jail on Rikers, in a unit for transgender women, but was placed in solitary as punishment for allegedly taking part in a fight. She was being held on $500 bail for prostitution and low-level drug-possession charges, according to records. Melania Brown, Polanco’s sister, told reporters “They treated my sister like she was nothing for how she decided to be happy.”