Hundreds of transgender prisoners are requesting transfers to different gender facilities, primarily female facilities, in California.
A California law that took effect this year allows for transgender inmates to be placed in prison facilities of their gender choice–and, inmates are now filing such requests.
Between Jan. 1 and April 9, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has received 261 transfer requests from transgender inmates. Out of these, 255 requested to be housed in a female institution, and 6 were requesting to be housed in a male institution. 21 of the requests have so far been approved, and the remaining are still under review.
The legislation passed in September 2020 states that the state can deny these requests, but only if it has “management or security concerns”. If a request is denied, the state must explain its decision in writing and give the inmate a “meaningful opportunity” to object.
In determining the need for gender placement, California legislators voiced their concerns about the vulnerability of transgender inmates to sexual abuse. They said that they needed a “safe environment” to “express their gender or to take medical, social or legal transition steps”.
The rule comes on the heels of a law that went into effect in January to also allow transgender prison inmates to undergo taxpayer-funded gender reassignment surgery.