Since January, 261 California prison inmates have requested transfers to prisons aligning with their gender identity, 255 of them biological males who say they identify as women, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
In January, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, signed into law a bill requiring the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to ask every individual entering its custody to specify personal pronouns and gender identity, including transgender, nonbinary, or intersex.
The California law, known as SB 132, prevents Corrections and Rehabilitation from disciplining the individual for refusing to give this information, allows for the information to be updated later, and requires staff to use the gender pronouns that the individual requested.
The new law also requires that CDCR house the individual in a “correctional facility designated for men or women based on the individual’s preference.”
Since the law effect in January, 261 inmates have requested “gender based housing” transfers, CDCR told The Daily Caller News Foundation. The vast majority of these requests were from inmates requesting to be transferred to female facilities; only six inmates did not request to be in a women’s facility.
“255 are from transgender women and non-binary incarcerated people who are requesting to be housed in a female institution and six are from transgender men and non-binary incarcerated people who are requesting to be housed in a male institution,” CDCR Deputy Press Secretary Terry Thornton said Tuesday.
CDCR has not denied a single gender-based housing request, Thornton confirmed.
The corrections department has approved 21 of the requests; four of these applicants have been transferred to Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla.
“Two of the 21 have changed their minds,” Thornton said.
The spokesman said that as of April 2, a total of 1,129 inmates self-identified as transgender, nonbinary, or intersex.
Prison inmates at the Chowchilla facility told the Los Angeles Times that guards had warned that “men are coming” and prisoners should anticipate sexual violence.
“That if we think it’s bad now, be prepared for the worst. That it’s going to be off the hook, it’s going to be jumping,” Tomiekia Johnson, 41, told the Times, summarizing what prison staff said. “They say we’re going to need a facility that’s going to be like a maternity ward. They say we’re going to have an inmate program where inmates become nannies.”
Prisoners fear that inmates requesting transfers are lying about their gender identity in order to be transferred to women’s prisons, the Times reported. This has slowed down the transfer process, the newspaper said.
Thornton told the Times that meetings and discussions “have helped to dispel any fears” and that “a person’s gender identity is self-reported and CDCR will evaluate any request submitted by an incarcerated person for gender-based housing.”
The prison system requested several million dollars from California lawmakers for implementing the new law, he said.