One of the issues on which trans activists and feminist activists most vehemently clash is that of transgender and transsexual prisoners. According to trans activists, these prisoners must be housed according to self-declared gender identity as soon as possible. In the past, when feminist activists have expressed alarm and outrage that prisoners born with penises would be allowed into spaces containing some of the most vulnerable women in society (2/3 of whom have not committed a crime of violence), they have been told that their alarm is misplaced.
Besides, only .3% of the population is trans, and even if a person occasionally abused the system, they’d be so far removed from one another, very unlikely to even be at the same prison, making any abuses easy to spot and hard to organize a coverup of. The most powerful prison gangs, which can often shield particular members from scrutiny or serving additional time for jail mishaps, need a population of 3-4% of prisoners (total incarcerated men with gang affiliations are around 16% in prisons, less in jails).
Of course, like with so many arguments from the transgender activist side of the debate, this one is based on feelings, not rigor, logic, or mathematics. Where are the skeptics? Well, there is one here, and we will explore the math today together. You see, the transgender prisoner issue is actually a pretty big one. Bigger than you probably thought, even if you already knew it was a problem.
Allow me to clarify for a moment here. All it takes is one raping man to be too many. There are already stories of men who have used self-castration and gender identity as a way to access and then sexually abuse women in the prison system. What I aim to show, however, is that the problem of simply opening prisons to self-identification is a much bigger problem than it seems at first glance.
In order to quantify the likely number of males who would enter women’s prisons, we must examine two distinct groups: people with genuine histories of gender dysphoric thoughts (who we can assess the number of via transgender prevalence rates), and people with no genuine histories of transgender thoughts who desire to be placed with women (either for sexual access to women or due to safety threats in men’s prison). We can call the first population A, the second B.
Let’s first take a look at population A. Given studies that have shown the criminality of MTF individuals remains, on average, the same as males, let’s assume that they are represented proportionally in the prison population.
But wait. Since 75-80% of transgender people are MTF, not FTM, we can assume the prevalence among males is more like .6%. Still doesn’t seem like much … until you factor in something huge: the vast differential between the number of male and female prisoners.
Check out these statistics. What we see is that while there are 1,225,900 male inmates total, there are only 89,000 female inmates–nearly 14 times as many men as women. That same six-tenths of a percent of the male population that seems relatively insignificant represents a total number of 7,355 inmates. Yes, that’s right. Just six-tenths of a percent of male inmates self-identifying as transgender and opting into women’s prisons would represent an increase to the women’s prison population of over eight percent. About three-quarters of these, assuming the prevalences stayed stable versus the rest of the population, would be male-born people who prefer women sexually.
Eight percent! At that rate, overcrowding becomes a bigger problem than ever, making conditions cramped for female-born people for the benefit of male-born people. And that’s, of course, before we consider population B.
Ah, population B. The terrifying thing about you is that we don’t really know how many of you there are. But we can take some interesting guesses.
Here are some things we know because of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. There are nearly twice as many males whose most serious conviction is murder (157,000) and males whose most serious conviction is rape (159,000) in state prison as there are total female prisoners incarcerated for any crime. Once again, much as with the locker room issue, we must ask ourselves: how likely is it that one rapist in a hundred, one murderer in a hundred, would decide to use this strategy to gain access to women?
If one in a hundred of those rapists utilized this strategy, they’d constitute 1,570 people — or nearly two percent of the total number of female prisoners. If one in a hundred murderers did the same, they’d constitute another two percent.
It does not take many men–men already proven to be violent, men already proven to have no respect for the boundaries of other human beings–to lie about gender identity to make prison a living hell for women.
Trans activists need to understand that for this to be an issue for women does not require “transphobia.” This is a legitimate issue. The class of people born female will experience a material detriment. Admitting population A into women’s prisons, even if literally zero of those people had bad intentions, would cause significant overcrowding at the expense of female-born people for the comfort and benefit of male-born people. Admitting population B into women’s prisons is unavoidable if population A is admitted. Due to the vastly larger starting number of male inmates, population B could create an outsize presence in women’s prisons even if only a relative handful of the worst and most violent inmates used gender identity to leave male prison.
Feminists are often treated like we are being the irrational ones in these debates, like we do not understand science or mathematics. Nothing could be further from the truth. If trans activists looked at the actual problem of prevalence, they’d understand exactly the issue women have with gender identity classifying prison inmates instead of sex. Transwomen of my acquaintance (hello there, Aoife!) who do understand these issues and have taken an honest look at them would NEVER subject women prisoners to forced housing with male-born people.
9 thoughts on “Prevalence II: On Prison Placement”
I am so glad you’re writing again. I just wish your work got more traction.
I was recently at a meeting of local (South Wales) police and prison officers that actually touched on this matter. Their policy, in the one specific case they had to cite, was to keep the inmate in solitary confinement and to monitor them very closely… which proved foresightful of them, as the inmate’s gender dysphoria did indeed come and go at an alarming rate (though having said that, the inmate in question would have certainly been mangled if housed with tougher and sharper male prisoners, so solitary was probably the best option for all).
And on top of the physical violence and rape: AIDS.
“Multiple surveys and studies have been conducted on the high prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases among the transgender population. The San Francisco AIDS Foundation determined the Transgender Community has the highest overall HIV diagnosis rate of any group in the state of California. Almost 50% higher than the Men-having-sex-with-Men (MSM) group. SFAF estimates the prevalence rate of HIV in the male-born transgender community to be 35 – 48%.(7) A nation-wide systemic review of AIDs and HIV prevalence in 29 transgender community locations across USA indicates an infection rate as high as 68%.(8). The transgender population is 400% more likely to be HIV+ than the general population. (9)”
If the percentage of MtT inmates would be around 10%, wouldn’t that warrant the building of a new prison for MtT prisoners? That would solve the problem, wouldn’t it?
What about the FtT people? Are they all so lawful that they never end up in prison? I assume they, too, will want to be in women’s prisons, because they are safer there.
Reblogged this on wolfwomanofthenorth and commented:
Fears about transgender rights to go into women’s spaces are not unfounded. They pose a serious conflict with women’s rights, that the general public needs to take into consideration.
“It does not take many men–men already proven to be violent, men already proven to have no respect for the boundaries of other human beings–to lie about gender identity to make prison a living hell for women.”
The only problem I have with this is that it’s a No True Scotsman fallacy. The trans claim that No True Trans would ever attack women, so if any trans did attack a woman, he couldn’t be really trans.
I get the feeling that most of the people talking about transwomen being sent to female institutions have never been incarcerated. So, here is my opinion. In a women’s prison, a female who is very masculine/male passing is very highly valued. A lot of heterosexual women in there want to date someone who looks male, and as a result masculine women are highly sought after. Many masculine women don’t have as much family support, and will date girls for the material things they can provide. So, with masculine appearances being so highly valued, I would think a lot of incarcerated women would be interested in dating/sex with a transwoman. Especially so, if the transwoman not only had a penis, but also other male characteristics, such as tall, with a low voice.
If the transwoman was fertile, I would expect unplanned pregnancies, because prison doesn’t provide contraception. Even if the transwomen says they’re attracted exclusively to men… So do a lot of the women who end up having sex with a female in prison. Anyone who’s been incarcerated in prison, or worked at one knows that sex happens in prison. So what happens when a male bodied prisoner, and a female bodied prisoner have sex, and the female gets pregnant?
Also, female prisoners sometimes lose the ability to have kids, when they are incarcerated, due to the length of their sentence being longer than their reproductive years. This can be VERY hard to deal with. It’s possible that one of these females might have sex with a transwoman in order to get pregnant.
I don’t think giving them condoms is a good solution, because women can still get pregnant with a condom, and some people want pregnancy. In fact, every few years, a female prisoner gets pregnant by a staff member… so I can only imagine how many would, if there were male bodied prisoners mixed with female bodied prisoners.
“Admitting population B into women’s prisons is unavoidable if population A is admitted.”
I don’t see how this is unavoidable. If a person has gone through therapy for gender dysphoria and/or has had surgery prior to incarceration it will show up in their medical records.