A transgender inmate has impregnated two female prisoners at an NJ prison. The women became pregnant from “consensual sexual relationships with another incarcerated person,” Dan Sperrazza, the Department of Corrections’s external affairs executive director, told NJ.com.
The prisoners are held at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in Clinton. The facility has experienced a long list of sex assault scandals. Gov. Phil Murphy announced plans last year to close the facility, the only women’s prison in New Jersey.
After a lawsuit brought forth by a trans inmate who lived in men’s prisons for 18 months and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, the prison began housing transgender women last year. Over 800 inmates are housed at the correctional facility.
According to NJ.com., 27 inmates identify as transgender and are serving time at the penitentiary. Trans women inmates do not have to undergo gender-reassignment surgery to be held in the facility, according to New Jersey’s policy.
“While DOC cannot comment on any specific disciplinary or housing decisions that may be considered in light of these events, the Department always reserves all options to ensure the health and safety of the individuals in its custody,” Sperrazza told the Daily Mail.
Last year, two Edna Mahan prisoners filed a lawsuit to end New Jersey’s gender identity policy for prisons. The inmates claimed trans inmates harassed them and that transgender inmates were engaging in sex with female prisoners.
ACLU legal director Jeanne LoCicero defended the policy of allowing transgender inmates in a women’s prison as one that protects the rights of transgender women.
“[It’s] in line with New Jersey’s strong anti-discrimination laws that prevent discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender identity,” she told NJ.com.
The policy was slammed by the union representing correctional officers.
“We opposed this policy change believing it would be detrimental to the general population of female inmates being housed at Edna Mahan and also bring added stress to our correctional police officers assigned to this institution,” the union’s president told NJ.com.
The matter is under investigation. The names of the pregnant women and transgender inmate have not been released.