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The Familiar Tragedy of Layleen Polanco's Death

In New York State this week, lawmakers introduced a sweeping and unprecedented proposal to decriminalize sex work by amending a web of policies that target people in the sex trades. But as the bill was being announced on Monday, a parallel story was playing out that only underscored its urgency: just days before, a 27-year-old transgender woman named Layleen Polanco had been found dead in a cell inside Riker’s Island, New York City’s largest and most notorious jail.