State Watch

Newsom signs law allowing transgender inmates to be placed in prison by their gender identity

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill Saturday allowing transgender inmates to be placed in prisons based on their gender identity. 

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will now house inmates based on their gender identity rather than their sex assigned at birth — but only if the state does not have “management or security concerns” with individual inmates. 

The law Newsom signed Saturday requires officers to ask inmates privately during the intake process if they identify as transgender, nonbinary or intersex, then inmates can request to be placed in a facility that houses either men or women.

The CDCR cannot deny requests solely because of inmates’ anatomy or sexual orientation. When a request is denied, the state must provide a written statement to the inmate explaining the decision and give them an opportunity to object. 

“California has some of the strongest pro LGBTQ+ laws in the nation and with the bills signed today, our march toward equality takes an additional step forward,” Newsom said in a statement. 

“These new laws will help us better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ+ community, establish a new fund to support our transgender sisters and brothers and advance inclusive and culturally competent efforts that uphold the dignity of all Californians, regardless of who you are or who you love.”

Similar laws protecting transgender inmates exist in Rhode Island, New York City and Massachusetts.

Tags California Gavin Newsom Gender identity LGBT transgender Americans

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