California Coalition for Women Prisoners’ statement on SB 132 implementation

CCWP-logo-Caring-Collectively-25-Years-Strong-womenprisoners.org-2021-1400x1400, California Coalition for Women Prisoners’ statement on SB 132 implementation, Behind Enemy Lines

by the CCWP Community 

The California Coalition for Women Prisoners’ mission statement is clear: We monitor and challenge the abusive conditions inside California’s prisons designated for women. We fight for the release of all women, trans and gender non-binary people incarcerated in women’s prisons. We also support community members in their process of returning home and navigating re-entry.

As an organization committed to principles of collective care and Do No Harm, CCWP is very critical about the ways in which CDCr is implementing SB 132 in prisons designated for women. Predictably, the implementation is not being managed in a way that takes into account the safety needs of all women, both cis and trans. Instead, it is being handled in a manipulative and punitive way that pits people against each other, escalates mistrust and enables harm. 

Although CCWP was not a co-sponsor of SB 132, we recognize that trans women suffer daily violence inside prisons designated for men and that this urgently needs to stop. We also recognize that many incarcerated cis women feel that their needs and histories of trauma are not being taken into account in the ways SB 132 is being implemented. 

We are deeply committed to the right of all cis and trans women, trans men and non-binary people to be protected from sexual violence and other forms of harm inside a prison environment which is fundamentally violent. 

SB 132 is being handled by CDCr in a manipulative and punitive way that pits people against each other, escalates mistrust and enables harm. 

We refuse to promote an atmosphere where one group’s safety is seen as coming at the expense of another. We call for release from prison as the most effective and common sense response to all forms of prison violence. 

We support the positive initiatives being suggested by our inside community aimed at creating a safe and respectful environment for each person – for example, halting the 115 write-ups to individuals concerned about their housing and punitive use of administrative segregation, creating a stronger oversight process for transfers, and initiating peer-led dialogue between trans people transferring in and cis and TGNC people already living in the prison. We call for an end to the fear-mongering being perpetuated by CO’s and prison officials, which escalates misconceptions and stigma toward women of trans experience and sows division. We hope to continue open discussion and feedback about what concrete next steps would be useful in reforming the ways in which SB 132 is being implemented. 

We underscore our commitment to challenge the abusive conditions created by CDCr and help address any harmful actions. We invite people inside to be in touch with us with concerns or thoughts about how to create a safer environment for everyone.

The California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) monitors and challenges the abusive conditions inside California women’s prisons, fights for the release of women and trans prisoners, and supports women and trans people in their process of re-entering the community. Contact the Bay Area Chapter at 4400 Market St., Oakland, CA 94608; info@womenprisoners.org or 415-255-7036 ext. 4.