This bill will require that during an initial intake and classification process a person under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or imprisoned within a county jail will have the opportunity to specify their gender identity, preferred first name, gender pronoun, and honorific and require that they be used by facility staff. Further, SB 990 will require that a person in the custody of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or in a county jail who is placed for more than 5 days in a setting other than general population housing due to the person being at risk for sexual victimization or other forms of assault or harassment, or because of an investigation not resulting from the person’s own alleged violation of criminal laws or institutional rules, have equal access to programming and work opportunities as provided to individuals housed in general population.
AAP Positional Letter
March 30, 2018
Honorable Nancy Skinner
Chair, Senate Public Safety Committee
State Capitol, Room 2031
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: SB 990 (Wiener) Inmates
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Chair Skinner,
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, supports SB 990 (Wiener), to ensure that the dignity and identity of transgender people are honored in incarceration settings and that LGBTQ people and others at high risk of sexual assault and harassment have an equal opportunity to access rehabilitative, educational and work programs that will help them succeed upon release.
LGBTQ people are typically at much greater risk for sexual victimization and other forms of assault or harassment in custody. Because of this, prison and jail staff often remove LGBTQ people from the general population and house them with limited or no access to rehabilitative programming, educational programming, religious programming and work opportunities, which are critical for successful rehabilitation and for earning credits towards release. As a result, LGBTQ people experience more isolation, spend more time in custody, and leave custody less prepared to succeed. Transgender incarcerated individuals suffer the additional indignity of not having the opportunity to affirm their own gender identity when entering a facility.
Current law does not clearly require staff to refer to the individual by their specified name, gender identity, gender pronoun or honorific. This demeans the dignity, and erases the authentic identity, of transgender individuals.
SB 990 (Wiener) would also allow incarcerated individuals housed outside of general population for more than five days to receive the same programming opportunities as individuals housed in general population, which will help reduce isolation and reduce recidivism. SB 990 would also change state law to require that incarcerated people be given an opportunity to indicate during the intake process their gender identity, preferred first name, gender pronoun, and honorific and for all department staff, facility staff, and contractors to use the incarcerated person’s preferences in all written and verbal communication.
In a reorganization of the California corrections agencies in 2005, the California Youth Authority became the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) within the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Therefore, as we read the bill we are hopeful that these important provisions would also apply to youth.
Pediatrician members of AAP California Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 across the state urge you to vote AYE on SB 990 (Wiener). Thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and wellbeing of children, youth, and families in California.
Chief Executive Officer, American Academy of Pediatrics, California
cc: Senate Public Safety Committee Members
Office of Honorable Scott Wiener, California State Senate (Author)
AAP-CA Leadership; Lobbyist Lydia Bourne