Several female inmates and a nonprofit agency that advocates for incarcerated women have filed suit in U.S. District Court over California’s law that allows men who identify as women to be transferred to women’s prisons.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill, S.B. 132, into law in September 2020. According to the suit, at least 23 inmates have been transferred from men’s prisons to either the California Institution for Women or the Central California Women’s Facility, and the California Department of Corrections has not yet denied any requests for such transfers.
The plaintiffs report that the transfers have already resulted in significant deterioration of the female environment in the women’s prisons, and several hundred additional men have reportedly applied for transfers.
The suit alleges, among other things, that “incarcerated women, including the individual plaintiffs herein, have experienced fear, anxiety, depression and/or post-traumatic stress disorder, as a direct result of now: sharing close-quarters housing, showering, dining, and recreation with men.”
Some women who share a cell with a man and other women have made sleep schedules so that a woman is on watch to try to prevent rape by the male cellmate. One of the plaintiffs in the suit reports that she was sexually assaulted by a man who was transferred to her unit under S.B. 132.
“Everything we warned legislators about S.B. 132 is coming true,” said Greg Burt of the California Family Council. “Women inmates are being assaulted and sexually harassed. Women inmates are being traumatized over violations of their privacy. Fear and dread now occupy the minds of every California female inmate, because our legislators and governor care more about the desires of trans-identified males than they do the safety of vulnerable women.”
Above: The California Institution for Women, in Chino, California.
Photo: K.C. Alfred/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS/Alamy Live News