California enacts law allowing transgender inmates to pick prison based on gender identity

Gov. Gavin Newsom signs law making his state fourth to recognize gender identity in incarceration placement

Updated: September 27, 2020 - 9:03am

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California has become the fourth state or city to let inmates' transgender identity determine their incarceration site.  

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday signed legislation ordering the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to house inmates based on their gender identity rather than their biological gender at birth.

Under the law, corrections officers must now ask inmates discreetly during the intake process if they identify as transgender, nonbinary or intersex and whether they prefer, based on that identification, to serve in a male or female prison.

But the law has an exception for inmates that pose “management or security concerns.” 

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

Similar transgender inmate choice laws exist in New York City, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. 

You can read about California's law here.