Women's advocates are fighting for female prisoners who are being forced to co-habitate with biological men after a California law allowed the transfers of transgender individuals to the correctional facility that aligns with their gender identity.
The California prison system's correctional facilities are gearing up for an increase in cases of violence and abuse after the state's Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 132 in September 2020, which allows biologically born male inmates who identify as female to enter female correctional facilities.
The law was met with intense backlash from women's rights groups and continues to be decried today. The Central California Women's Facility has even equipped its medical clinics with newly available resources such as contraceptives, in anticipation of a heightened risk of non-consensual sex.
The radical feminist group Women's Liberation Front (WOLF) is fighting for California inmates who are forced to share cells with biological men after the measure was signed into law. They group believes there will be an increased risk of rape and abuse at the hands of men claiming to identify as women to enter the female correctional facilities.
According to the Christian Post, posters displayed in the medical clinics show which medical services and assistances are available to female inmates, including contraceptive counseling, their choice of birth control methods by a licensed health care provider within 60 to 180 days prior to scheduled release date, emergency contraception or Plan B, pregnancy termination or abortion, pregnancy tests, and more.
"Trusted sources inside California Institute of Women tell us that one reason for the backlog in transferring men who have requested transfer is the prison is making the men take a course in how to deal with their fears about living with women," the group said. "In April, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation implemented a new mandatory 16-hour class as a prerequisite for any inmates wishing to transfer."
A captain's meeting was recently held at the Central California Women's Facility, where a woman reportedly read a statement of plea to prison staff. Her cries for help fell on the deaf ears of correctional officers who were not concerned about her fears of having to live in close quarters with a serial rapist.
"How do we feel safe in our community? When we reach out for help we get nothing. There has been an assault on a woman and we still are silenced," the woman said, adding that they are forced to live in close quarters with "6'2, 250-pound men" with genitals that can be used "for brutally raping women."
According to the Center Square, WOLF Legal Director Lauren Adams wrote a letter to Gov. Newsom, the state attorney general, CDCR secretary, and wardens of two women's facilities, earlier this month to call for them to halt the process of transferring biological males to women's correctional facilities. Adams also accused the state of "violating the constitutional rights of incarcerated women."
In the letter, Adams argues that "there is no method to screen out males who genuinely self-identify as transgender from those who are using the system to prey on women." She also cited a 2009 report that found how 20% of trans-identifying men in California are sex offenders, saying that the research "understates the problem" that the female prisons currently face. Adams highlighted how these criminals who wish to be transfered are a danger to women, as "at least one of the trans-identified male prisoners is on death row, and a considerable number of the others are serving life sentences for brutal crimes."
There are 273 more pending transfer requests, of which are 266 biological men wishing to be housed in a women's correctional facility, as per the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Up to 1,286 California inmates have identified as transgender or non-binary.