New York moves to allow biological males to be housed in women's prisons

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The New York State legislature has reintroduced a piece of legislation brought forth in the previous legislative session that would allow prisoners to be housed according to their self-reported “gender identity,” meaning that biological males could “self-ID” their way into women’s prisons.

Assembly Bill A709, also called the “gender identity respect, dignity and safety act,” states that prisoners who have a gender identity that differs from their birth sex should be allowed to seek accommodations that closely match their gender identity.

These accommodations include: being addressed by staff “in a manner that most closely aligns with such person’s gender identity,” have access to commissary items that match their gender identity, and “have the right to be searched by a correctional officer or staff member of the gender most closely aligned with such person’s gender identity.”

The bill would also give inmates the right to “maintain the confidentiality of records or portions of records related to their incarceration that would reveal their sex characteristics or their transgender, gender nonconforming, nonbinary, or intersex status, or that would otherwise reveal that their gender identity differs from their assigned sex at birth.”

Inmates would be allowed to self-declare their gender identity status, as the bill would prohibit the department of corrections from “requiring documentation to conform a person’s gender identity, sex characteristics, or intersex status.”

The bill would also allow for inmates to be housed in the facility that most closely matches their gender identity, stating that inmates “shall be presumptively placed in a correctional facility with persons of the gender that most closely aligns with such person’s self-attested gender identity unless the person opts out of such placement.”

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