Women's rights group protests California law that requires housing male rapist in women's prison

"Men are housed in women’s prisons. California law requires this. They are raping the women." (photo: WoLF)

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

The Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) is fighting California’s Senate Bill 132, which went into effect in the state in 2021 and allows biological males to transfer into female prisons if they self-identify as women. After their lawsuit was dismissed in early May, the women’s advocacy group put up a billboard on California’s State Route 99 between Fresno and Madera. The billboard states, "Men are housed in women’s prisons. California law requires this. They are raping the women." Included on the billboard is a link to WoLF’s website highlighting their case on the law against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

A press release from the group stated, "There have long been documented problems with guards raping female inmates in California’s prison system. But the state now allows male inmates to transfer into women’s facilities based on their self-proclaimed 'identity' as transgender."

"Legislators who voted for Senate Bill 132, passed in 2020, like Al Muratsuchi getting heckled at his recent townhall in Redondo Beach, perhaps thought they were helping someone like the character in Orange Is The New Black, but the law was written so broadly that incarcerated men who don’t even attempt to present as a woman can now transfer into a woman’s facility."

The press release highlighted the case of Tremaine Carroll, who transferred to the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla in 2021 from a men’s prison. During the male inmate’s time at the women’s prison, the district attorney’s office has filed two charges of forcible rape and a witness intimidation charge against Chowchilla. Carroll is now a three-strikes felon, and has a preliminary hearing on July 8, the morning of which WoLF will be holding a press conference with Woman II Woman, an advocacy group that fights for the rights of incarcerated women.

The women’s group filed their lawsuit against the Department of Corrections on behalf of four women in custody, "whose civil and human rights were violated when they were forced to accept men in the facility." In early May, Judge Jennifer L. Thurston of the District Court for the Eastern District of California dismissed the lawsuit, stating that the women’s advocacy group’s fears that female inmates being forced to house with biological males were "overstated."

Over 250 men have transferred into Chowchilla since the law passed, and a male healthcare worker at the prison told WoLF that 345 biological males are on the waiting list to transfer into the prison. WoLF has also filed a formal request with the United Nations Special Rapporteur On Violence Against Women and Girls Reem Alsalem to open an investigation into California placing biological males in women’s prisons. 

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