WILKES-BARRE -- Dakota Barnes of Hanover Township is locked up in Luzerne County, charged with prostitution. Barnes wants out of jail and has filed an application for bail reduction.
According to police, Barnes is in the process of changing sex from male to female.
Barnes is in the male housing unit of the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.
The deputy warden tells Newswatch 16 the prison has and is following its policy of putting Barnes there because Barnes is anatomically a male.
“It's called protective custody. There's no need to question that,” said one man who spoke to Newswatch 16 about the controversy. He agrees with the prison’s position.
Barnes' attorney is seeking a reduction of $10,000 straight cash bail calling it excessive and unconstitutional.
According to court papers, the prison medical staff is "failing to provide the defendant's prescribed hormone treatments,” and the "defendant feels unsafe in the male inmate housing due to derisive comments about her identity from both inmates and corrections officers.”
"Like if he wants to be a woman, he should be with the women, like if he's being teased or whatever. I just think he should be with the women,” said Kayona Stephens of Wilkes-Barre.
"I think he should probably be like segregated, but like have his own stuff, like have his own bathroom and everything, shower,” said Billy Williams of Wilkes-Barre.
Barnes was also arrested in July, charged with a string of car break-ins in Hanover Township.
If granted bail, Barnes' attorney says Barnes will show up in court as scheduled.
"He shouldn't have broken the law. Therefore he wouldn't be put in a predicament where he has to be judged on his gender or what his sexual preference, so throw his butt in isolation,” said one man from Wilkes-Barre.