America's largest prison for women is no longer safe for its inmates, as it has accepted biological males convicted of violent crimes but identified as women to remain in the prison with biological females.
With over 2,600 inmates spanning different security levels, the Central California Women's Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla is America's largest prison for women. Despite its 640-acre facility, however, inmates are forced to live in "cramped cells with eight women per room, bunk beds 4 feet apart, a shared restroom, and an uncovered shower."
To make matters worse, the California women's prison has now opened its doors to 11 biological male inmates, some of which have been convicted of violent crimes such as rape and murder, the World News Group reported. But that's not all, as the coming months will see the addition of more biological males who identify as females entering and living in the facility that was supposed to be for biological females only. And the biological female inmates have every right to be worried.
According to the Los Angeles Times, only as little as 1% of California's prison population identify as nonbinary, intersex or transgender. But that has not stopped S.B. 132 from being passed into law. Under S.B. 132 or "The Transgender Respect, Agency and Dignity Act," which Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law in September and took effect this year, correctional facilities no longer have the right to force inmates to go to the facility designated for men or women. Instead, the inmate is now empowered to choose which facility he can enter based on their "gender identity."
Biological females in the California women's prison and in correctional facilities all over the country have every right to be concerned. The WNG report revealed that a women's correctional facility in Washington has taken in six biological males, including one serial rapist, as shown in documents obtained by the Women's Liberation Front (WoLF). New Jersey has also empowered its inmates to transfer to whichever facility they believe they should live in according to their "gender identity."
Founder and president of the nonprofit Woman II Woman Amie Ichikawa, who is also a former CCWF inmate, argued that placing biological males in the California women's prison makes it difficult for biological females to heal from any trauma they experienced in the hands of males.
"Prison is already difficult. Now they have to shower, use the toilet, and share 6 feet of personal space with violent men," Ichikawa argued in a conversation with WNG. She also shared how women's rights are being placed at risk when it comes to the discussion on transgender rights.
In a letter sent to her organization in April, a female inmate who was a victim of sexual abuse and domestic violenced detailed her fears of living in close quarters with "a man [who] is very much stronger physically and can overpower me in any situation, a man that still has [male genitalia]."
The unnamed inmate pleaded, "We should not have to live with [male inmates] in fear of the unknown."
This is 1 of many letters we're getting from incarcerated women in CA. These women were already given a sentence and should not be subjected to further punishment. This is what the EA will look like if passed as is. #sb132 #stoptheEA #womanIIwoman pic.twitter.com/L7KT50Wgdn
— Woman II Woman inc (@WomanIIWoman1) April 15, 2021