Protestors demand removal of trans-identified males from New Jersey women's prison

"The solution to male violence in male prisons is not male violence in women’s prisons. This needs to stop. Get men out!"

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Groups protested at the New Jersey state Capitol on Friday against biological men who identify as transgender females being housed in the state's only all female prison, as reported by The NY Post.

The prison, Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, houses 356 inmates, 24 of which are biological men who identify as transgender. The prison has been under scrutiny from many seeking to protect women after it was reported that two women being housed in the facility were impregnated by a transgender inmate last year.



Many protesters used the hashtag #GetMenOut as a message to the NJ legislators and the Department of Corrections that the state must do more to protect biological women. 

Jennifer Thomas, 53, and Brittany Ortiz, 35, of the group Justice Speaks: Free Speech for Women, spoke on behalf of female inmates during the protest and read four letters from women who are currently incarcerated at the prison.

The letters, authored from behind bars, detailed the fears biological women face being housed in the prison where 1 in 15 inmates is a biological male identifying as a female.

Dawn Jackson, 51, a biological female and victim of years of sexual abuse herself, wrote about the trauma she feels living in the prison, "Being subjected to live amongst (trans women) who remain equipped with their manhood is extremely overwhelming and difficult for me. Am I living amongst any rapists? (Trans women) do not belong in closed/confined prison settings meant to house women/females born feminine."   

Kokila Hiatt, another biological female inmate, authored a letter from within the walls of the prison detailing the process that occurs when biological males who identify as women arrive and wrote, "Many of them are sex offenders. When the males arrive they cease hormone injections and continue living their lives as men."

She continued in the letter, which was read on her behalf by protestors, "In other words, they drop the act and start doing what it is they came here for. They engage in sexual relationships with women, manipulate them into purchasing their commissary and have no qualms about bullying anyone who disagrees with them." Hiatt also wrote in the letter that she has received threats of violence for speaking out against the situation.

Another letter from a biological female inmate who chose to be identified as "M" stated,  "Confining men in a women's prison creates another power dynamic and disparity in treatment. They are given privilege. I am not disregarding their humanity or choices, however in the carceral situation there should be a degree of separation in regards to housing at a minimum. Even the Olympics and sports organizations are now recognizing anatomical differences that remain despite hormonal treatment…"

She added, "The vetting process has been deficient in acknowledging the wolves in sheep clothing and once it is discovered until there is an incident that screams and demonstrates a failure to protect."

One of the biological men who identify as transgender currently being housed at Edna Mahan is Michelle Hel-Loki, 39, who was born a male as Perry Cerf. 

Cerf was sentenced to 50 years in prison after raping an murdering an Equadorian sex work in an attack which he described to The Daily News during a 2002 interview saying, "Yeah, I killed her. I punched and kicked her to death, crushing her skull in the process," adding, "Since I have a most unusual taste for blood, I drank and licked and lapped up my fill…Let it be known I am Lucifer’s maiden servant, sent to earth born of sin, to bring suffering and pain, darkness and evil."

When Cerf began identifying as a woman and was transferred to Edna Mahon, Cerf had been in solitary confinement for assaulting other inmates.

In 2005, Cerf told a prison psychologist about wanting to kill associate administrator Michelle Ricci by beating her, choking her and breaking her neck, according to New Jersey court records.

A biological male who identify as transgender named Demi Minor, who was named Demetrius Minor at the time of Minor's crimes, had a record of burglaries and carjackings and was sent to Edna Mahan after being convicted of stabbing Minor's foster father 27 times in 2011. Demetrius then identified as a transgender female and was sent to Edna Mahaon.

Last year, it was revealed that after being sentenced for the murder and housed in Edna Mahon prison, Demetrius, who now identified as Demi Minor, impregnated two female inmates in 2022. As a result, the prisoner was transferred out of the facility and is currently fighting to be returned the the all female prison. Minor had initially been moved to Edna Mahon under a state policy, pushed into place by the ACLU, enabling inmates to be housed according to their preferred gender identity 

Jennifer Thomas, one of the women who organized the protest Friday outside the NJ state Capitol told The Post, "Women are the largest growing population in American prisons. Most are women of color, 86% percent are victims of sexual violence, and few are violent offenders. It is painfully obvious that caging this exceptionally vulnerable group of women with men is an abhorrent human rights violation. The solution to male violence in male prisons is not male violence in women’s prisons. This needs to stop. Get men out!

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