Senate Tom Cotton bill would separate inmates based on birth sex, not identity
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A prisoner’s sex at birth, not their gender identity, would determine where they would be housed, under a US Senate bill proposed last week by Republican Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
The bill introduced Wednesday came in response to a report that President Biden may sign an executive action demanding that the Federal Bureau of Prisons allow transgender inmates to go to a prison that matches their gender identity.
“President Biden’s plan to house male and female prisoners together will put women at risk,” Cotton said in a statement. “Documented cases prove that placing men – including those who identify” as women – in women’s prisons puts female prisoners at increased risk of sexual assault. My bill will end the President’s ill-conceived plan and keep men and women separated in federal prisons. “
“My bill will stop the President’s ill-conceived plan and keep men and women separated in federal prisons.”
Last November, the Women’s Liberation Front sued the state of California over its policy allowing transgender inmates to be housed based on their identity. A complainant claimed she was sexually assaulted by an inmate transferred from a men’s prison, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“The fundamental basis of our legal action is that these are male offenders housed in women’s prisons,” Lauren Adams of the Women’s Liberation Front said in a statement, according to the Time. “Pretending they are women, in language or what we say about them or how we talk about them, defeats the whole basis of the lawsuit.”
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Biden’s Justice Department sided with a transgender inmate last April who identifies as female and claimed she was sexually assaulted after being forced to stay in a men’s prison. She sued the Georgia Department of Corrections.
The DOJ, in a statement of interest in the case, asserted that prisons must provide safe housing for all prisoners, including transgender inmates, as required by the Eighth Amendment. the lawyer reported.
“Prison officials violate the Constitution by (1) categorically refusing to allocate transgender inmates to housing consistent with their gender identity, even though an individualized risk assessment indicates it is necessary to mitigate a substantial risk of serious harm, and (2) failing to individualize the medical care of transgender inmates for the treatment of gender dysphoria,” the DOJ said.
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Cotton said her Prevention of Violence Against Women Prisoners Act would both prohibit the Bureau of Prisons from using gender identity for housing assignments and could result in the loss of some grant funds. federal authorities for law enforcement in state correctional facilities.
The bill would allow prisons to house transgender inmates in a separate location, according to a statement from Cotton’s office.
“For example, a prison would be free to set up specific housing units for transgender inmates based on security, medical, or programming needs, but would not be allowed to co-locate those inmates with inmates of the opposite sex. “, reads the press release.