Women’s Liberation Front Statement On California Women’s Prisons
As anticipated, the implementation of a “gender identity” policy in California prisons – which passed last year despite warning from feminists – has been a disaster for incarcerated women. Any man can seek transfer to women’s facilities if he says he is “transgender.” He does not have to identify as a woman as long as he does not identify as a man.
Earlier this week, The LA Times reported that 255 transfer requests to women’s facilities have been made in the first three months of this policy. Most are yet to be processed, but no transfer requests have yet been denied. California reported in 2009 that 20% of inmates who ID as trans are sex offenders. This means at least 50 current transfer requests to women’s facilities are likely sex offenders.
The LA Times also said California prison officials know of men falsely claiming to identify as “trans” purely to seek a transfer. An advocacy group for incarcerated women told the Senate Judiciary Committee that at least one man so far has been successful in his ruse.
The risks to incarcerated women, most of whom have already survived abuse and sexual assault in their lives, are immense. Women have already been raped, harassed, and punished by violent men placed in California women’s prisons. The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation itself acknowledges that putting men (90% of whom still have functional penises) in women’s prisons presents a risk of pregnancy.
Incarcerated women are terrified, and are speaking out against these policies.
“I am in fear over this,” said Danielle P., a woman currently incarcerated in a California state prison, “I am a victim of domestic violence and rape. What if one of these sex offenders that have their penises rapes us, what then?”
“These women are not only serving the sentences they were given,” said Amie Ichikawa, founder of the nonprofit Woman II Woman which represents 1,300 current and formerly incarcerated women in California, “but are now being given the additional sentence of living in constant fear that one of their new room mates might be one of the people who are abusing this new law.”
Polls show that most Americans do not agree with these policies, including most Californians.
“Mixed-sex prisons are a cruel solution to sexual violence in men’s prisons, that violate the human rights of incarcerated women as layed out in international standards,” said Natasha Chart, Executive Director of WoLF. “Congress should amend the Prison Rape Elimination Act to allow for separate facilities for transgender-identified inmates.”
Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) is a radical feminist organization dedicated to the total liberation of women. They address the current state of political polarization, and the long history of cross-aisle feminist collaboration. WoLF is focused on addressing policies affecting women and girls that mainstream feminist organizations have ignored. They believe that gender cannot be reformed – it must be abolished.
About S.B. 132 Prison Rape Elimination Act
The federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003 drives all CDCR efforts to combat sexual abuse and sexual misconduct within our institutions. The vision of CDCR is to end the causes and tragic effects of crime, violence, and victimization in our communities through a collaborative effort that provides intervention to at-risk populations and quality services from the time of arrest that will assist our offender population in achieving successful reintegration into society. CDCR has an overarching mission to improve public safety through evidence-based crime prevention and recidivism reduction strategies. Based on this, CDCR maintains a zero tolerance for sexual violence, staff sexual misconduct and sexual harassment in its institutions, Community Correctional Facilities, Conservation Camps and all offenders under its jurisdiction.
Offender and staff safety is paramount to the mission of rehabilitation. CDCR has identified the provision of safe living and working environments as an overarching strategy within the organization. We recognize that offenders must feel safe in our facilities in order for any rehabilitation and treatment to take place. PREA compliance is a significant factor in providing the necessary safety and security for successful rehabilitation.