By: April Carson
There are currently 27 transgender people incarcerated at the prison.
Two female prisoners at New Jersey's only women's prison are pregnant after having sex with a transgender inmate, according to prison officials.
It is unclear how many times the sex occurred or if it was consensual. The Department of Corrections is investigating the matter.
However, the union representing jail correctional officers has criticized the policy that allowed for such a pregnancy to occur. The Correctional Officers' Benevolent Association says that the policy "endangers the lives of female inmates, staff and visitors."
"This is a serious public safety issue," said union president Wanda Bright. "Allowing men who identify as women to be housed with actual women puts everyone at risk."
According to Dan Sperrazza, the Department of Correction's external affairs director, the women became pregnant as a result of "voluntary sexual relationships with another incarcerated person."
The Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in Clinton, New Jersey, houses incarcerated individuals who have been accused of sexual assault. The facility will be closed as part of Gov. Phil Murphy's initiative to close down the state's only women's jail.
The facility has more than 800 inmates and began housing transgender women last year, following a lawsuit filed by a trans person who spent 18 months in men's prisons with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.
According to NJ.com, there are 27 transgender inmates currently incarcerated at the facility. Trans women prisoners in New Jersey are not required to undergo gender-reassignment surgery in order to be detained at the prison.
"While the Department of Conservation can't comment on any particular disciplinary or housing penalties that may be considered as a result of these events, it always reserves all alternatives to ensure the safety and health of those in its custody," Sperrazza said.
Two Edna Mahan convicts filed a lawsuit last year seeking to end New Jersey's transgender prison policy, alleging that they were harassed by trans inmates and that transgender prisoners engaged in sex with female inmates.
The American Civil Liberties Union's legal director, Jeanne LoCicero, spoke in favor of allowing transgender women to serve time behind bars in a women's institution.
"It's also consistent with New Jersey's strong anti-discrimination rules, which prevent discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender identity," she said.
The union representing jail correctional officers has also criticized the policy.
"It's not a level playing field," said union president Wendellstein. "The females are at a disadvantage."
He added that the policy puts transgender prisoners "in a position of power."
The Correctional Officers' Benevolent Association, which represents both prison guards and nurses at Edna Mahan, said such a bail policy change "would be detrimental to the general population of female inmates housed there and would exacerbate the stress already faced by our correctional police officers."
An inquiry was launched into the situation. The identities of the pregnant women and transgender inmates have not been revealed.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
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