In January, a California bill was put in place that allows male inmates identifying as the opposite sex to be transferred to women’s prisons. Now, if the Equality Act passes, the policy will be in place nationwide and put incarcerated women in danger all across the country.
The policy doesn’t require transgender inmates to have spent any previous time living as the opposite gender. They also are not required to be receiving hormone therapy or any surgeries. Therefore, any male inmate can claim to be transgender and be transferred to a women’s prison. So far in California, 264 men have requested to be moved after claiming a female identity.
Being cellmates with a biological male, especially one who is known to be a violent criminal, can leave female inmates at serious risk.
Due to the fact that female inmates tend to be less violent, they are often not sorted by the severity of their crime. No matter the type of crime, the inmates are randomly mixed together. Although any biological male criminal can be a threat to women, this danger is increased when females convicted for minor crimes are cellmates with violent males.
This occurrence increases the brutality within prisons. Women feel that they need to carry weapons in order to protect themselves from transgender cellmates who are larger and stronger. This is made worse when the biological male inmates are imprisoned because of criminal activity targeting women. In Washington state, which has a similar law, a biological male serial killer of women was transferred to live with female cellmates.
Unfortunately for women in this situation, there is nothing that they can do. If they say they are uncomfortable living with a biological male or share their fear with the police, they are punished with a disciplinary infraction. There is no safety for these women from either physical or sexual assault.
Not only are the inmates concerned about the new law, but so are prison guards. Women’s prisons are known to be far less violent, and therefore many of them do not have “gun coverage,” leaving guards with no protection other than pepper spray and batons. This is especially concerning to female guards. If something were to happen, they likely would not be able to protect themselves (or others) from a biological male inmate without going all the way to the front of the prison to get a gun.
So far in California, 26 male inmates claiming to be transgender have had their transfer requests granted. Not a single request has been denied. The applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and do not require any medical gender therapy or documented history of gender dysphoria.
Laws such as this are made with the idea of inclusivity, but completely exclude the preferences and safety of women. Most of the inmates opposed to sharing a cell with biological men aren’t protesting because of hatred for transgender individuals, rather they are concerned for their own safety. In a Wall Street Journal article on the topic, many of the women interviewed were clear that they did not harbor any resentment for transgender people. Some were even willing to accept sharing a cell with biological men who had undergone sex reassignment surgery. Still, this law could easily be hijacked by “opportunistic male inmates,” looking to get transferred to a less violent facility with female cellmates. When many of these men have received no medical treatment, and may even be attracted to women, which leaves the women in danger of being raped or physically assaulted.
Prisons are separated by gender for a reason. These new laws completely disregard the safety of female inmates and will have serious consequences within prisons. After only a short time period, the policy’s failures can already be seen in California. Taking the policy nationwide would put thousands more incarcerated women in unnecessary danger.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.