In a move that seems surprising, Elizabeth Warren has made it a priority platform item to put “trans women” (or men with pen*ses) into women’s prisons so that the men aren’t at risk. This is not a joke. “We have to stop putting trans women who are incarcerated into prisons with men where they are at risk. And it’s our responsibility,” Warren told a crowd of cheering people in Iowa.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren campaigns in Marshalltown, IA: “We have to stop putting trans women who are incarcerated into prisons with men where they are at risk. It is our responsibility.” pic.twitter.com/nusBskixXY
— The Hill (@thehill) January 13, 2020
This would come as a surprise to the women in prison who have been assaulted by men claiming to be female. A man by the name of Karen White, who claimed to be female was put into a women’s prison in England and while there, raped two women. The Guardian reported:
White entered the UK prison system as transgender. However, despite dressing as a woman, the 52-year-old had not undergone any surgery and was still legally a male. She was also a convicted paedophile and on remand for grievous bodily harm, burglary, multiple rapes and other sexual offences against women.
In September last year she was transferred to New Hall prison in West Yorkshire. During a three-month period at the female prison she sexually assaulted two other inmates.
There does seem to be a problem housing male-bodied people who identify as female with male prison populations, too. National Review reported on a California bill that would allow people to enter the prisons of their choice, despite their genitals.
At first glance, the rationale is understandable. The bill outlines how transgender women in prisons are “particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse and sexual harassment.” It cites a study noting that they are 13 times more likely than non-transgender inmates in the same prisons to be victims of sexual abuse. And it references official data collected by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics confirming that in a 2011–12 nationwide survey, nearly 40 percent of incarcerated transgender individuals reported experiencing sexual victimization while incarcerated. To be sure, life must be tough for sexual minorities in prison.
But allowing men who claim to be female into a women’s prison cannot be the answer, especially when a majority of transgender male-to-female offenders are convicted of sex crimes according to a UK study. Our British cousins may have the answer to this problem that can be a decent compromise without putting the women’s prison population at risk while also protecting the safety of transgender inmates.
Britain became the first country in Europe to create a transgender prison wing. This is a compromise that could protect vulnerable transgender prisoners without sacrificing women’s safety. The change came after the U.K.’s Ministry of Justice confirmed the findings of a women’s-rights group, Fair Play for Women, that almost half of trans prisoners are sex offenders, compared with 19 percent of the prison population as a whole. “Prison governors and doctors say some sex criminals transition to get access to women,” the Times of London reported in May.
There’s compassion, and then there’s stupidity. What Elizabeth Warren is suggesting is dangerous stupidity.
Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo.” Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter