Californian women's prisons provide for pregnancies of women forced to be housed with men.

New pregnancy resources and free condoms appeared in the Central California Women's Facility (CCWF) in preparation for the'wave of transfers of men under the new 'gender identity' law.
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Le incarcerated women in the largest women's prison in California describe the situation as 'the worst of nightmares' after the introduction of new pregnancy resources in CCWF medical clinics. The new resources are a tacit admission by prison officials that women should expect to be raped when they are housed in prison with men, where any sexual intercourse involving detainees is considered non-consensual by default within the system.

New posters which recently appeared in the infirmary outline the options available to 'pregnant people' in prison, including antenatal care, abortion and adoption. The poster also states that women have the right to "contraceptive counselling and the choice of birth control methods by a licensed health care provider within 60-180 days prior to the scheduled release date". However, the only methods available to incarcerated women to prevent pregnancy are condomswhich appeared shortly after the transfer of the first men, and the morning-after pill. (Text full poster, provided by a source inside the prison).

Before the passage of law SB 132 (which allows male prisoners to be transferred to women's prisons on the basis of 'gender self-determination', ed.), Pregnancies among incarcerated women were very rare in California women's prisons.. Women who enter the justice system already pregnant are typically detained in the county jail or in separate medical facilities until they give birth.

Women's prisons all over California seem to be making final preparations for a massive wave of transfers of male prisoners, since since the entry into force of SB 132 in January this year, there have been almost 300 requests initiated. So far only about 20 transfers have been processed (and exactly NO transfer requests have been denied), leaving hundreds of men - including many convicted sex offenders - waiting to enter the women's prison facility.

Other lines of conduct have been implemented in secret by women's prisons preparing for the influx of violent men. Trusted sources within the California Institute of Women (CIW) tell us that one of the reasons for the delay in transferring the men who requested it is that the prison is putting them through a course on how to 'deal with their fears of living with women'. In April, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (the California government agency responsible for the operation of state prisons and the probation system) ordered a new mandatory 16-hour course as a prerequisite for all prisoners wishing to be transferred. (They also added two classes that the men have to take after being transferred, but apparently there are no consequences for not completing these courses).

The structures are also increasing security measures in preparation for hundreds of new men dangerous and violent inmates living alongside the vulnerable female inmate population. Women's prisons are traditionally less secure and make more 'concessions' to inmates, as incarcerated women are less violent than men and pose less risk to other inmates and correctional officers. CCWF's prison yard, for example, has for over three decades housed trees that provided shade from the desert sun and a home for local birds. Once the men started arriving, the trees were cut down, as they were seen as a security risk. (The CCWF denies that this happened, despite first-hand accounts from imprisoned women). The security level of individual male inmates is completely ignored once they enter the women's facility, as prison officials do not take preventive measures against them, but instead choose to remove the 'concessions' previously given to all female inmates.

We believe that all these courses of action have been put in place in preparation for processing the more than 200 remaining transfer requests. It may be that prison officials are doing their best to protect women, despite having their hands tied by law; but as usual, the price of these new measures is largely paid by women.

Men who wish to move need only take a ridiculous course entitled "Right person, right prison- covering difficult topics such as: "They might ask you questions, how will you deal with them?", "Trans people's fears of being housed with cis", and "What's in it for you?". Apparently, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation believes that this is an appropriate way to screen men requesting transfer to ensure they are suitable to be housed with women.

Women, meanwhile, are prepared with free condoms and a guide on how to get an abortion in prison.

Talking to Amie Ichikawa, founder of Woman II Woman and activist for the rights of incarcerated women, a woman currently housed in the CCWF said that It was as if the prison had 'given the OK for us to be raped, because it has a plan to deal with the consequences'.

At a recent meeting of CCWF custody officers, a woman read a statement begging for help and accusing the officers of ignoring their concerns about being housed with a serial rapist:

"How can we feel safe in our community? When we ask for help we get nothing.... There has been an attack on a woman and we are still being silenced. Hope has been taken away from us once again. Does anyone care that we are forced to live with men who are 6'3", who weigh over 100 kilos and have penises, who are here to brutally rape women? We have been warned by officials in this prison that more are coming with worse sentences. Where is the concern for our safety? We are the ones locked up, if we tell you that we are afraid!".

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said to have considered the risk of pregnancy when drafting SB 132, which allowed inmates to be housed according to their self-proclaimed "gender identity," regardless of their sex or anatomy. When men started arriving, however, the facilities seemed unprepared to handle the reality of a "mixed" prison. Although sexual acts (including so-called 'consensual' sexual acts) are prohibited and result in disciplinary action if discovered, the CCWF has started to providing condoms to female prisoners. However, there are strict rules regarding their use, including the fact that prisoners may not have more than three condoms in their possession at any one time, and unwrapped condoms are considered contraband.

The prison was unable to prevent or stop sexual activity between male prisoners housed with female prisoners. Sources tell us that there have been cases of sexual assault, as well as illicit sexual activity between male and female prisoners, putting women at risk of pregnancy and diseaseincluding HIV, as well as an increased risk of disciplinary action which may affect the chances of applying for parole. Of course, avoiding the negative consequences of sex between males and females is one of the reasons why prisons are divided by sex in the first place.

As more men arrive in women's facilities, the crisis will only get worse. In just six months since the enactment of SB 132, the number of incarcerated persons who "self-identify" as trans or non-binary (thus becoming eligible to apply for a facility transfer) has increased from 1,088 to 1,237. The nearly 300 pending transfers are just the beginning of the invasion of women's prisons by violent male prisoners, including convicted murderers and rapists.

"You might as well declare that the prison is mixed, and send us to Pelican Bay*!" said a woman currently incarcerated in the CCWF. *Pelican Bay State Prison is the only maximum security prison in the state of California.

WoLF (Women's Liberation Front) works closely with incarcerated women affected by these policies, and has organised a campaign and one petition to demand the abolition of law SB 132.

Original article here
Translation by Maria Celeste

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