A California law that took effect this year has prompted hundreds of transgender prison inmates to put in a request to be transferred to a facility that aligns with their gender identity.
Since Jan. 1, 2021, some 261 such requests have been put in, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
Though transgender inmates make up just over 1% of the Golden State’s prison population, the requests have led to heightened fears among women’s facilities that the supposed influx of transgender inmates will lead to increased sexual violence.
“Men are Coming – Prepare for the Worst”
The Los Angles Times reported Monday that some prison guards have been telling female inmates that “men are coming” and to prepare for the worst.
According to the report, the state’s prison system has transferred four inmates to the Chowchilla women’s prison in Central California, approved 21 gender-based housing requests and denied none. Out of all 261 requests, only six requested to be housed in a men’s facility.
There are other concerns that some inmates will abuse the new law by making false claims about their gender identity so they can be transferred to a women’s prison.
Prisons spokeswoman Terry Thornton told Fox News that CDCR “is committed to providing a safe, humane, rehabilitative and secure environment for all people housed in its institutions.”
“Senate Bill 132 … supports CDCR’s endeavors to improve safety, help prevent sexual abuse and create a more respectful environment for the incarcerated transgender, non-binary and intersex community,” Thornton said.
Thornton said CDCR has a classification profess that reviews an incarcerated person’s history before and during incarceration, including their medical and mental health needs as well as safety concerns.
Thornton said information is gathered in screen tool under standards from the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) which gives inmates one of three designations: at risk as a victim, at risk as an abuser, or not identified as being at risk.
“Inmates at risk as a victim cannot be housed in a cell with an inmate identified as being at risk as an abuser,” Thornton said.
The Times reported that the prison system maintains town hall discussions with inmates on a regular basis and that allegations of misconduct are taken seriously and investigated.
For the time being, the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed these transfers.