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CA Gov Schwarzenegger Vetos LGBT Prison Safety Bill - Lez Get Real
According to a study done by UC Irvine that was done at the behest of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, sixty-nine percent of transgender inmates report sexual victimization in jail.
EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors stated “The governor’s reluctance to codify vital protections for LGBT prisoners into state law is truly heart-breaking. This bill was, in fact, different from the LGBT prisoner safety bill we sponsored last year in that it would have required the state to adopt national LGBT prisoner safety guidelines. The legislation would have been an important tool in preventing violence against LGBT prisoners and ensuring that they have access to the same safeguards under the law as other inmates. Despite this setback, we will work on administrative reform and will continue to partner with Assemblymember Ammiano to bring legislation next year when we have a new governor to ensure that similar legislation is passed and signed into law.”
Masen Davis, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center had this to say “By vetoing AB 633, Governor Schwarzenegger has yet again neglected to help alleviate violence in California prisons. Transgender people are thirteen times more likely to be sexually assaulted in prison than non-transgender inmates. The National Prisoner Rape Elimination Commission Standards are well-researched, practical and promising. It is shameful that implementation of these standards has been further delayed.”
Bamby Salcedo, President of the Trans-Latina/o Coalition stated “I am extremely disappointed that the governor chose not to protect and empower one of the most vulnerable groups in the state’s penal system. As someone who has been through the California penal system, I experienced firsthand the injustices that transgender prisoners face. My life was constantly endangered, I was harassed by other inmates and I was even a victim of sexual assault. This bill would have gone a long way in preventing LGBT inmates from experiencing the abuse I faced.”
According to EQCA, the bill would promote safety for and prevent assaults against LGBT Americans in the prison system by “amending the Sexual Abuse in Detention Elimination Act (SADEA) of 2005. The bill would have included information provided by inmates regarding their own safety concerns related to sexual orientation and gender identity on the list of factors for consideration when assessing whether inmates were at a heightened risk for assault. The list of current factors includes, age, type of offense and prior time served.”
The legislation is suppose to also require the state to adopt a portion of the National Prisoner Rape Elimination Commission Standards, specifically those designed to safeguard LGBT inmates, and to not automatically segregate LGBT inmates and to safeguard their privacy to not disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity to prison officials.
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