Canadian News Sep 18, 2021 11:05 PM EST

Women's organizations across Canada protest housing of biological male offenders in women's prisons

A coalition of nine Canadian grassroots women's organizations is leading a national protest at five federal prisons for women to demand that these offenders be sent back to the men's prisons from where they were transferred.

Women's organizations across Canada protest housing of biological male offenders in women's prisons
Alex Anas Ahmed Calgary, AB
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Several women's organizations are publicly condemning the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) over the housing of violent biological male offenders who identify as female in women's prisons. Several incidents of abuse and assault of female inmates and staff by trans-identified convicts have been reported.

A coalition of nine Canadian grassroots women's organizations is leading a national protest at five federal prisons for women to demand that these offenders be sent back to the men's prisons from where they were transferred.

Spearheading the protest is a former prisoner and women's prison advocate Heather Mason. Mason developed the Canadian component of the "Keep Prisons Single Sex" international web campaign and spoke with media worldwide about the impacts of housing biological male convicts with women and their children.

"Female offenders from Indigenous communities make up 42 percent of the Canadian female prison population," said Mason. "Many of them already come from abusive situations but are afraid to speak up and suffer the consequences."

Biological male transfers to women's prisons include Michael Williams, who raped and murdered a 13-year-old Indigenous girl in 2005. Steven Mehlenbacher, a serial bank robber, was charged in March 2020 with sexual assault while incarcerated in a federal women's prison.

This national protest is the fifth protest at prisons for women since March of this year. Six protests across the country are taking place, including the Ottawa courthouse.

The protest at the Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener garnered praise from residents passing by in their vehicles. "Violent males do NOT belong in women's and girl's spaces. GET THEM OUT!" tweeted We The Females.

A supporter tweeted: "Are any of you [mainstream media] covering the National Day of Protest at women’s prisons across Canada?"

The Twitter user called it a "guaranteed news story" with "political implications," especially with the federal election Monday.

High-risk biological male convicts, including child rapists, are exploiting the CSC's interim policy on gender identity, according to a release by Canadian Women's Sex-Based Rights (caWsbar). By declaring themselves female, these criminals may be transferred to women's prisons to complete their sentences under reduced security — often with their male anatomy fully intact. Research suggests there are at least 14 biological males in women's prisons within the federal system.

CaWsbar, We The Females, and Women’s Human Rights Campaign, Canada said the CSC's disastrous policy shows how Canada's gender identity legislation puts women and children at risk and that it demonstrates a complete failure of the federal penal system to protect the health and safety of females under its care.

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