California to house transgender inmates according to gender identity

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A correctional officer closes the main gate at California's San Quentin State Prison.AP

Men going into prison in California now have the option of going in with the women; how good a deal is that?

And the idea that men would do it for their own advantage is a “false narrative,” according to the state Democratic lawmaker who authored the bill.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law on Sept. 26 requiring California to house transgender inmates in prisons based on their gender identity. They can be refused only out of “management or security concerns,” reports the New York Post.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation places males and females in separate facilities. Transgender inmates are often housed based on their actual, scientifically supported gender at birth. Advocates say this is dangerous, particularly for men pretending to be women.

The law Newsom signed requires officers to ask inmates privately during intake if they identify as transgender, nonbinary or intersex. Those inmates are then permitted to request placement in a facility that houses either men or women.

The law says the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation cannot turn down requests on the basis of inmates’ anatomy, sexual orientation or “a factor present” among other inmates at the facility.

Again, the requests can be denied if the state has “management or security concerns.” But if a request is denied, the state must give the inmate a written statement explaining the decision and provide a “meaningful opportunity” for the inmate to object.

Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco who authored the bill, said he doesn’t expect that exception to be used very often.

“It’s just a false narrative about transgender people and about transgender women in particular that they’re somehow not really women and are just trying to scam their way into women’s bathrooms or facilities in order to do bad things,” Wiener said. “Overwhelmingly the people who are being victimized are trans people.”

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