SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) implementation of Senate Bill 132, The Transgender Respect, Agency and Dignity Act, has “demonstrated a high level of commitment to safe placements consistent with gender identity,” according to a year-long review by a nationally-recognized criminal justice consulting firm.
The Moss Group underscored CDCR’s work in preparing incarcerated people and staff for a successful housing transition. Other highlights were CDCR’s procedures to allow individuals to specify their gender identity and the Department’s review process for housing transfer requests. Steps taken by CDCR will contribute to a body of national best practices, according to the report released today.
CDCR contracted with the Washington D.C.-based consulting firm in October 2021 to ensure the successful implementation of SB132. The 2021 legislation allows incarcerated transgender, non-binary and intersex people to request to be housed and searched in a manner consistent with their gender identity.
“We’re appreciative of the in-depth assessment of our implementation of SB 132 and the recognition of our efforts to improve the experiences of incarcerated transgender, non-binary and intersex people,” said Connie Gipson, Director of CDCR’s Division of Adult Institutions.
CDCR is committed to providing a safe, humane, respectful, and rehabilitative environment for all incarcerated people, regardless of gender identity. Federal data from 2015 shows incarcerated transgender people experience the highest rates of abuse in prisons and jails.
The Moss Group has conducted in-depth reviews of reports, policies, procedures, training materials and forms as well as demographic information related to implementing SB 132. Assessors reviewed CDCR’s classification criteria and processes including needs assessments, Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) screenings, and gender-identity questionnaires.
The Moss Group also conducted interviews with CDCR staff at headquarters and in institutions, incarcerated transgender and cisgender people, advocacy groups and other stakeholders. They observed Institution Classification Committee (ICC) meetings, studied operational processes, housing and bed assignments and analyzed training and education for both incarcerated people and employees, staffing levels, leadership and culture.
In their report, The Moss Group praised:
- CDCR’s thoughtful approach to preparing both staff and incarcerated people for the successful transition into housing and searching according to incarcerated individuals’ gender identity,
- The evolution of how gender-based housing requests are evaluated through ICCs,
- Having wardens of female institutions chairing ICCs,
- Requiring the presence of the individual requesting transfer at an ICC,
- The commitment by staff to use people’s pronouns and honorifics,
- CDCR’s long-standing commitment to gender-responsive practices in female-designated prisons,
- CDCR’s intentional and thoughtful approach to building on existing processes,
- The department’s process for transferring transgender individuals to an institution consistent with their gender identity,
- The robust processes for incarcerated people to submit grievances,
- The department’s reception center and orientation processes that support transition.
“CDCR developed a thoughtful approach to preparing both staff and incarcerated individuals for a successful transition in housing assignment processes as well as changes in practice to increase safety and respect in the management of (transgender, non-binary and intersex) individuals,” according to the report.
The Moss Group’s analysis also included several recommendations related to search preferences, property, reception center processing and orientation, review of gender-based housing and searching requests, unit and bed placements, staffing, training, communications, leadership and culture, and research and data. CDCR has begun implementing these recommendations and will continue to refine its SB 132 process this year.
Link to the Moss Group report here: SB132 CDCR Assessment Report.docx (ca.gov)
Learn more about SB 132 and obtain current data here: https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/prea/sb-132-faqs/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: OPEC Press Office OPEC@cdcr.ca.gov