‘Misogyny’: 47 Biological Males Allowed in Women’s Prisons in California
On Wednesday, The Post Millennial reported that 47 biological males who identify as transgender have been allowed entry into women’s prisons in California since the state’s Transgender Respect, Agency and Dignity Act (SB-132) went into effect in 2021. Experts are decrying the policy, pointing to the dangers posed to women’s safety and privacy.
Citing data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) website, the story notes that “as of Feb. 26, 2023, 349 people housed in male institutions have requested to be housed in a female institution. 47 were approved for transfer, 21 were denied, and 35 changed their minds. The remaining requests are being reviewed.”
Amanda Stulman, director of the U.S. chapter of the advocacy organization Keep Prisons Single Sex, pointed to the unique dangers that female inmates face as a result of California’s SB-132.
“Keep Prisons Single Sex remains horrified that the transfer of criminal men into women’s prison in California has continued,” she told The Washington Stand. “The impact of a law such as SB-132 should have been obvious when it was under consideration. Now that the law has been in place for over two years, California is able to see its impact: As of 2022, over 33% of the men seeking to transfer under this law under the guise of ‘gender identity’ are registered sex offenders. Over a quarter have been convicted of a sex offense. These are substantially higher percentages than the general prison population.”
Stulman went on to highlight additional reports coming out of the California prison system since the law’s implementation.
“There have been allegations of pregnancies and sexual assaults, of the introduction of condoms and other birth control and information about options in the event of pregnancy,” she said. “Men who have been moved under this law include murderers and sexual offenders. California needs to admit this law was a mistake and walk it back.”
Instances of trans-identifying men assaulting women in female prisons have occurred as recently as last April, when a biological male who identified as female was sentenced to seven years in prison after he was convicted of raping a female inmate in the women’s section of the jail on Rikers Island in New York.
The problem does not appear to be contained to the United States. The Times in the U.K. recently reported that seven sexual assaults have occurred in women’s prisons by transgender-identifying convicts, and that trans-identifying males are “five times more likely to carry out sex attacks on inmates at women’s jails than other prisoners are,” according to official figures.
Male criminals convicted of sexual crimes are also being permitted into women’s prisons in Canada. On Wednesday, The Post Millennial reported that a male convicted sex offender who raped a 13-year-old girl and who was “classified as a dangerous offender” has been transferred to a women’s prison in Ontario after identifying as trans. This latest instance is just one of multiple examples of biological males convicted of sexual crimes being allowed into women’s prisons in Canada since 2017.
Dr. Jennifer Bauwens, the director of the Center for Family Studies at Family Research Council, was candid in her assessment of California’s controversial prison policy.
“The word that comes to mind is ‘misogyny,’” she told The Washington Stand. “That’s actually what this is about: the hatred of women instead of the protection of women in prison. Some people could write off this population just because they’ve committed crimes and [say] they’re not deserving of protection — I totally disagree with that. But I think this is just another example of a disregard for women and a preference for the desires of men. Whether people are aware of that at a conscious level or not, that’s what is manifesting.”
Bauwens, who formerly worked as a clinician providing trauma-focused treatment and has studied the effects of trauma, pointed out how the policy will be particularly detrimental to women prisoners.
“This is an old study, but it still speaks to who is in a women’s prison,” she noted. “‘One key finding from this research is that incarcerated women are more likely to report extensive histories of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse—between 77 and 90%.’ … And the prevalence rates of childhood abuse [are] much higher among incarcerated women in comparison to the general population. This study was specifically looking at the California prison population.”
“[Women prisoners] are more susceptible to committing crimes based on abuse histories,” Bauwens continued. “When someone’s experienced childhood abuse, they’re more likely to act out in delinquent behaviors or abuse substances. … There have been recommendations from different public health researchers that have suggested that for female prisoners, trauma therapy should be a part of their time in prison because of this knowledge.”
She went on question the vetting process by which male inmates are allowed into female prisons.
“So you have all that going on in the background, and then you’re going to [add male convicted criminals]? We don’t know of the criteria for a transfer. What kind of background checks are they looking at? What’s the reason that they’re in prison in the first place, and is that considered? Have they had a violent or sexual offense? Does that sideline them from transfer? I don’t think so, based on previous reporting.”
“It speaks to the level of misogyny going on in this thought process,” Bauwens concluded. “There really is no thought about protecting women from further harm. Women should do their time for their crime, but not be victimized in the process.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.