The transgender inmate who claims she is in fear for her safety at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility will soon be released from custody after pleading guilty Monday to a prostitution charge.
Dakota Antar Barnes, 23, of 425 Main Road, Hanover Township, filed a motion last week seeking a bail reduction, arguing that jail officials have failed to provide her prescribed hormone treatments and that she feels she is in danger because of “derisive comments” by guards and inmates.
During a brief hearing Monday, Barnes pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of prostitution, admitting she agreed to perform oral sex on an undercover police officer during a sting operation near Carey Avenue and Academy Street in September 2015.
In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped a second prostitution charge against Barnes, who faces a maximum of a year in jail at sentencing on Nov. 14. Her attorney, Wojciech Jankowski, sought a reduction in her $10,000 bail pending sentencing, saying Barnes has an address where she can live under supervision.
Assistant District Attorney Jenny Roberts, however, argued for monetary bail, noting that Barnes has been arrested three times since her September 2015 arrest — including in another prostitution sting a month later at Carey and Susquehanna avenues.
“The commonwealth is concerned that the defendant keeps violating her bail conditions,” Roberts said.
Luzerne County Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr., who accepted the plea, changed Barnes bail to $3,000 unsecured, ordering her to follow all the rules and warning that she would face stiff punishment if she is arrested again.
“You’re going to sit in jail, do you understand that?” Sklarosky said.
Barnes sought a bail reduction last week after claiming she has been subjected to humiliating comments by fellow inmates as well as correctional officers, who have also denied her access to her medications.
Jail officials counter that when Barnes was booked, she identified as being a male and requested to be placed in the general population. Barnes landed herself in the restrictive housing unit awaiting disciplinary action after acting up while guards tried to move her to protective custody.