California legislators vote again to endanger women in prison

Yesterday, California’s Assembly Public Safety Committee passed SB 132, a corrections bill already passed by the Senate, directing prison officials to house inmates by gender identity, rather than by sex. Below are the prepared remarks of Abigail Lunetta, who testified before the committee in opposition to the measure.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Abigail Lunetta. I am a Democrat, a feminist and an advocate for women’s rights. I’m here today because if SB-132 as it is currently written becomes law, the state of California will sanction the desire of male rapists to share quarters with female inmates.

It is already happening. Right now, Richard Masbruch, a trans identified male, is currently housed with female inmates in Corona, even though he is serving time for targeting, raping, and torturing women. Under no circumstances is this morally justifiable.

This bill permits male inmates to be housed with female inmates at the mere request of a male inmate, even though males commit violent crimes three times more often than women, and there are no studies to show that males who self-ID as trans commit less violent crimes relative to the general male population.

This bill provides no exceptions for male inmates who have committed violent crimes, or crimes against women – including rape, sexual assault, or harassment. This bill does not require officials to consider anatomy, a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, or a mental health diagnosis. It does not require a male inmate to physically present as a woman, take steps to medically transition, nor even to prefer feminine pronouns. All that is required is a male inmate’s desire to be housed with women, even if that male is incarcerated for sexual crimes against women.

If passed, this bill would also cost the State of California millions of dollars in increased legal settlements. The Department of Corrections is known to have a very high rate of sex harrassment claims, which has cost tax payers millions in court battles.

Where laws like SB-132 have been implemented, it has resulted in male inmates sexually assaulting female inmates. The problem has been so egregious in the United Kingdom, they have had to roll back their self-ID policy in order to protect female inmates from further sexual assault.

The goal to preserve the safety of trans-identified inmates is a noble one, but it is imperative that the Public Safety Committee achieve this goal without compromising the safety of California’s female inmate population. Thank you for your time.