Female inmates in California prisons are seeking relief after a new California law allows biological men to be housed at women’s detention centers in the state based on their “gender identity.”
The letter from inside a prison said in part:
So we want to know if you can possible send a copy of the policy and procedures for the screening process of these men coming here. They are getting caught having sex already yesterday a girl was s*ucking a mans d**k on the main yard. WTF? … This is not safe for us.
The law, SB132, is designed to allow prisoners being admitted to prison according to the sex they want to live as rather than their biological sex — resulting in men living with women and even some women living with men:
The bill would require the [Corrections] department, for a person who is transgender, nonbinary, or intersex to only conduct a search of that person according to the search policy for their gender identity or according to the gender designation of the facility where they are housed, based on the individual’s search preference. The bill would additionally require the department to house the person in a correctional facility designated for men or women based on the individual’s preference, except as specified.
The San Francisco Chronicle has been reporting on how the new law is being implemented, including promoting the idea that the trans women, not the real women, face danger in prison.
The Chronicle reported that more than 250 people — the “vast majority” of whom are trans women — are waiting to be transferred to their preferred prison.
“The longer it takes, the greater the odds that they could be raped, beaten or killed,” the Chronicle reported.
The Chronicle report reported:
Since the law took effect on Jan. 1, 288 people currently housed in male prisons have asked to be housed in female prisons, according to the corrections department. Of those, 41 requests have been approved, but only 25 people have actually been moved. Nine people housed in female prisons have asked to transfer to male prisons. None of those requests has yet been granted.
Corrections officials said the vast majority of transfer requests, for both trans women and men, remain under review. Spokesperson Terry Thornton said the agency is “being deliberate in its review of gender-based housing requests.”
Eight requests from people seeking to transfer from men’s prisons to women’s facilities have been denied. Twelve additional prisoners changed their minds. The rest remain in limbo. The agency gave little further explanation for the slow pace of transfers. Under SB132, the state must grant such requests unless it has an “articulable basis” to deny them for security reasons.
“Transfers are dependent on several factors including bed availability, and COVID-19 precautions have impacted overall inmate transfers,” Thornton wrote in an email.
— GayeChapman⚢Gryffindykesaurus (@my_real_name) December 25, 2021
But despite the claim that it is trans women prisoners who face danger, critics of the new law are pushing back, including by way of a lawsuit filed on behalf of female inmates.
“Everything we warned legislators about SB132 is coming true,” Greg Burt, director of Capitol engagement for the California Family Council, a conservative group backing the lawsuit, said in a statement.
The Chronicle reported that there are approximately 99,000 people who are incarcerated in California. The news outlet says 1,440 are “transgender, nonbinary or intersex people, according to the corrections department.”
“Some of them were allowed to transfer to a different gender facility in the past, based on individual circumstances, though the state didn’t track exactly how many,” the Chronicle reported.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter