Two inmates at New Jersey’s only women’s prison are pregnant after reportedly having sex with a transgender inmate.
It appears 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, which has faced a long string of sex assault scandals. Gov. Phil Murphy announced plans last year to shutter the facility, which is New Jersey’s only women’s prison.
In 2021, New Jersey enacted a policy to allow prisoners to be housed in accordance with their preferred gender identity.
The policy was part of a settlement from a civil rights suit brought by a woman forced to live in men’s prisons for 18 months.
There are more than 800 prisoners, including 27 transgender women, at the Jersey correctional facility, which does not require trans women to undergo gender reassignment surgery in order to be housed there.
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The prison houses more than 800 inmates, and began housing transgender women last year following 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.
There are 27 inmates who identify as transgender currently housed at the facility, according to NJ.com. New Jersey’s policy does not require trans women inmates to undergo gender-reassignment surgery to be held in the facility.
“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.
Two Edna Mahan prisoners filed a lawsuit last year seeking to end New Jersey’s gender identity policy for prisons, claiming they were harassed by trans inmates and that transgender inmates were having 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] New Jersey’s strong anti-discrimination law is consistent with what prevents discrimination and harassment based on gender identity, “he told NJ.com.
Representative Union Correctional officer He has already criticized the policy in prison.
“We oppose this policy change, believing that it will be detrimental to the general population of female detainees held in Edna Mahan and will put additional pressure on our correctional police officers stationed at the institution,” the union president told NJ.com.
An investigation has been launched into the matter. The names of pregnant women and transgender detainees have not been released.