Since California’s Transgender Respect, Agency and Dignity Act came into effect in 2021, permitting transgender inmates to be housed in facilities in line with their gender identity, 47 biological males have been permitted to transfer to women’s prisons while none of the 12 requests by biological females to transfer to a men’s facility have been granted so far.
Democratic California Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 132 was enacted in January 2021, granting biological male criminals the right to request transfer to women’s prisons based upon a self-declared female gender identity, as well as the right for these males to request to be searched by female prison staff.
The law applies to both male and female inmates alike, but the flow of transfers has so far only gone in one direction. On the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) website, it states that as of Feb. 26, 2023, 349 people housed in male institutions have requested to be housed in a female institution. 47 were approved for transfer, 21 were denied, and 35 changed their minds. The remaining requests are being reviewed.
However, 12 individuals housed in a female institution have requested to be housed in a male institution. None have yet to be approved, but all the requests are under review.
In 2022, the CDCR commissioned The Moss Group, a Washington-based criminal justice consulting firm, to provide long-term policy recommendations to “ensure successful continued implementation of SB 132.”