Feminist activists in Washington state allege the American Civil Liberties Union is covering up the danger to female inmates posed by incarcerating violent transgender prisoners in women’s facilities.
Just the News reported the Women’s Liberation Front’s Lauren Adams raised the concern after the ACLU convinced a federal judge to prevent the release of data on the number of transgender inmates in the state’s penal system.
Adams charges the ACLU is trying to “prevent the public from knowing this data, so that the harm posed to women by forcing them to be housed with violent male prisoners will continue to go under the public’s radar.”
The dispute began when a woman filed a public records request for the data on transgenders and the ACLU reacted April 8 by asking for an emergency restraining order to prevent the information from being made available.
The feminist group, WoLF, however, is arguing that the information contained no personally information, and the request only was for aggregate information.
The women’s organization says the ACLU is “blatantly disregarding their own values and past work in an attempt to suppress information related to how gender identity is impacting women’s prisons.”
Th organization said its client learned how to request the information from ACLU materials.
The information request dates back the middle of last month and seeks an “accurate count of inmates who identify as transgender” in the state’s prisons, Just the News reported.
It also asks for how many “male persons” who don’t identify as men are in women’s facilities and how many “female persons” who don’t identify as women are in men’s facilities.
The ACLU complained, in opposing the request for information, that once the records are released, “there would be no turning back.”
It said the “safety and lives” of unidentified client inmates would be in peril.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice has granted a temporary order, with another hearing to be held May 12, Just the News said.
The state recently has received similar requests from several news outlets. KIRO-TV in Seattle recently reported a Department of Corrections worker who reached out to the station said a serial killer and a sex offender transferred from men’s to women’s prison.
Just the News said it’s not clear “why the lawsuit ropes in WoLF’s client, given that her request only asks for numbers of transgender prisoners rather than personal information about them.”
WoLF said the state failed to respond to the public records request within five business days as required by law. The state cited the ACLU’s lawsuit in its ultimate response.
California recently disclosed that hundreds of men had requested transfers to women’s prisons, and no request has been rejected.
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