Garland Doubles Down on Forcing Female Prisoners to Be Housed With Men

By: Katie Pavlich

Testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday on Capitol Hill, Attorney General Merrick Garland feigned ignorance about hundreds of requests made by federal male inmates in California — and other states — to be transferred to a women’s prison. 

First, the back story:

The California prison system has received 261 applications since January 1 from transgender, intersex, or non-binary inmates to transfer to facilities that match their preferred gender identity, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday.

The requests were filed after a state law came into effect allowing transgender inmates to transfer to different prisons. Around 1 percent of prisoners in California, 1,129 inmates in total, have notified the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation that they are transgender, intersex, or non-binary.

And Garland’s response:

“Every person in prison has to be dealt with dignity and respect.” Unless you’re a female prisoner who will be forced by the government to share prison, a cell and showering facilities with biological men who in some cases, have been convicted of violent sexual crimes. Inherently, men being housed with women puts women at risk for sexual violence, which has increased significantly since these types of policies have been implemented.

An inmate at Illinois’ largest women’s prison says she was raped by a transgender inmate who was transferred into her housing unit last year, and claims Illinois Department of Corrections officials conducted a “sham investigation” to help cover up the incident.

In a federal lawsuit filed last week, a Jane Doe inmate at the Logan Correctional Center in central Illinois said that after being sexually assaulted in June 2019, she was coerced by a supervisory officer into denying the attack took place and then punished for filing a “false” complaint under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

The suit names Logan’s acting warden Beatrice Calhoun as a defendant, along with officers Brent Keeler and Todd Sexton.

The transfer of transgender inmates from male to female prisons has been a contentious policy within IDOC,” the plaintiff’s Peoria-based attorneys wrote in a five-page complaint. “In an attempt to justify the transfers, Defendants Sexton, Calhoun, Keeler and currently other unknown IDOC employees covered up the sexual assault of Plaintiff and tried to falsely classify it as consensual, to keep it from being considered a PREA violation.”

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