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- A spokesperson for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said there are pregnant incarcerated women, but they were already pregnant when they got to prison.
An image of what looks like a pregnant inmate in an orange jumpsuit is being shared on social media with this description: "CA inmate pregnant after being forced to share prison with transgender ‘woman.’"
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
We reached out to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation about the post and asked if a woman was impregnated in custody, and if so, if she was forced to with this person, or assaulted.
Terry Thornton, the agency’s deputy press secretary, told us "these claims are not accurate."
"There are pregnant incarcerated women in CDCR custody," Thornton said, "however, they were pregnant when they were admitted to state prison."
On Jan. 1, the Transgender Respect, Agency and Dignity Act — California Senate Bill 132 — took effect. The legislation allows incarcerated transgeder, non-binary and intersex people to request to be housed in a men’s prison or a women’s prison that’s "consistent with their gender identity," according to an explainer on the corrections and rehabilitation department’s website.
As of Aug. 6, there were 1,274 people incarcerated in the California prison system who have identified themselves as transgender or have symptoms of gender dysphoria.
"Since transgender people may be singled out for violent attacks by other incarcerated people and are at a higher risk for victimization, CDCR must make every effort to protect this vulnerable population," the department says on its website. "Housing transgender people according to their gender identity, when safe to do so, increases safety in prisons, upholds CDCR’s duty to protect all incarcerated people and promotes successful rehabilitation."
In a series of "frequently asked questions," the department also addresses whether this policy could result in pregnancy or if there’s a risk a cisgender man — someone whose self-identity corresponds with their birth sex — could claim to be a transgender woman in order to be housed with women.
Sexual acts aren’t allowed in California prisons and result in disciplinary action, according to the department. Housing placement is decided on a case-by-case basis using a screening tool and considering "all case factors."
In April, the Los Angeles Times reported that there had been 261 requests for transfers since the legislation took effect and 21 gender-based housing requests had at that point been approved. One incarcerated woman told the paper that guards warned them "men are coming" and to expect sexual violence.
"Although advocates and inmates say the transfers have been received well, several claim that misinformation spread by prison staffers is stirring up transphobia and that more must be done to educate inmates," the story says.
We rate this post False.
Instagram post, Aug. 10, 2021
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Senate Bill 132 FAQs, visited Aug. 18, 2021
Senate Bill No. 132, effective Jan. 1, 2021
Los Angeles Times, California prisons grapple with hundreds of transgender inmates requesting new housing, April 5, 2021
Email interview with Terry Thornton, deputy press secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Aug. 12, 2021
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