Should inmates be housed based on the gender they identify with? This is the question many are asking following reports that two inmates at New Jersey’s Edna Mahan Correctional Facility have become pregnant after having sex with a fellow inmate who is transgender.
Dan Sperrazza, the external affairs executive director at the New Jersey Department of Corrections, said the women became pregnant from “consensual sexual relationships with another incarcerated person”, NJ.com reported. Sperrazza said an investigation is ongoing. He did not disclose the identities of the inmates to the media.
“While DOC cannot comment on any specific disciplinary or housing decisions that may be considered in light of these events, the Department always reserves all options to ensure the health and safety of the individuals in its custody,” Sperrazza said.
The Edna Mahan Correctional Facility is the only female prison in New Jersey. It houses 27 prisoners who identify as transgender. New Jersey adopted a policy in June last year that requires state prisons to house transgender people based on their gender identity rather than their sex assigned at birth. The move was well-received by activists considering many transgender inmates in the U.S. are housed in prisons according to their gender assigned at birth and are usually harassed.
Jeanne LoCicero, legal director of the ACLU’s New Jersey chapter, indicated that the current policy “reflects best practices to ensure the health, dignity, and safety of people in (DOC) custody.”
Following reports of the two inmates getting pregnant by a transgender inmate, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday that issues with how to properly segregate prisoners at Edna Mahan are “among the many reasons” he has ordered the facility to close, NJ.com reported.
”Part of the reason to close it — and there are many, sadly — is the inability to segregate populations based on incidences or behaviors,” Murphy said. “And that’s on a long list of reasons why it has to be closed and that’s in process.”
In 2021, Murphy disclosed state plans to close the prison after reports that corrections officers had “violently extracted women from their cells and brutalized them in the middle of the night.”
Concern over proper jail segregation as 2 inmates in female jail pregnant by fellow inmate who is transgender