The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) seems to have jumped the gun on an anticipated executive order by Pres. Joe Biden when it instituted a major change in U.S. prison policy.
The BOP, a division of the U.S. Dept. of Justice, issued a notice on Jan. 13 stating it will henceforth assign “transgender or intersex” inmates to women’s prisons to “ensure the inmate’s health and safety.”
That very provision was included in a draft of an executive order on police reform crafted for Pres. Joe Biden that has not yet been signed because, according to the New York Times, it has precipitated a “near breakdown” between the White House and law enforcement authorities.
The NYT fails to even mention that The Federalist article decried a provision in the draft order enabling the BOP to assign male prisoners who self-identify as women to facilities in accordance with their gender identity.
Instead, the Times focuses on a provision of the draft order that allows police to use deadly force only “as a last resort when there is no reasonable alternative, in other words only when necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death.”
The draft order, dated December 2021, requires “the U.S. attorney general to ‘within 30 days of the date of this order, begin the process of identifying any necessary changes to the [Bureau of Prisons] Transgender Offender Manual … to enable BOP to designate individuals to facilities in accordance with their gender identity.’
The BOP didn’t wait for Biden to sign the executive order and on Jan. 13 issued a revised Transgender Offender Manual.
The Federalist article on Jan. 5 interprets the draft order to open the gates of female prisons to males who “say that they feel like a woman… the Biden administration will take them at their word.” This, the Federalist says, means “m]ale rapists, child molesters, and other sexual criminals will be allowed to live in women’s prisons… regardless of whether they still possess fully functional male genitalia.”
The revised manual states prison officials will weigh several factors before assigning a male who identifies as a woman to a woman’s prison, including the inmate’s “current gender expression,” “vulnerability to sexual victimization” and “likelihood of perpetrating abuse.”
With respect to privacy, the BOP states transgender inmates “shall be given the opportunity to shower separately from other inmates when individual shower stalls are unavailable.” The BOP does not address whether female prisoners have a right to shower separately from males who “identify” as female but have not undergone sex re-assignment surgery.
The Federalist article refers to recent incidents of alleged sexual assaults in the Washington state prison system, which has begun housing convicted transgender felons in female prisons. It also notes a group called the Women’s Liberation Front filed a lawsuit in California after a female prisoner said she was sexually assaulted by a biological male who was transferred to the facility.
According to the NYT, police groups generally are unhappy with Susan Rice, Biden’s chief domestic policy adviser, claiming she has ignored their concerns.
Without being specific, Jim Pasco, the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, said issuing the draft order referred to in the Federalist article “would cause an irreparable rift between Biden and the police.”
Rice, a holdover from the Obama administration, also is being pressured by Democratic senators Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Cory Booker of New Jersey, two jurisdictions where rising crime has become a campaign issue.
The BOP revised Manual identifies an “intersex” individual as “a person whose sexual or reproductive anatomy or chromosomal pattern does not seem to fit typical physiological definitions of male or female. Not all intersex people identify as transgender; unless otherwise specified, this policy does not apply to intersex people who do not identify as transgender.”