Will Caitlyn Jenner Be Sentenced to Prison With Male Inmates?

JennerCaitlyn Jenner opened up publicly for the first time to express her fears for the worst possible outcome should she be charged with vehicular manslaughter. Although she remembers very little about the deadly accident which took the of 69-year-old Kim Howe, Jenner said it is something one never really gets over. The jury is still out on whether or not Jenner will face criminal charges, but if so, will she be sentenced to a man’s prison?

Although Jenner was found not to have violated any traffic laws, prosecutors believe speed could be a factor in the cause of the accident. The I Am Cait  reality star maintains that she was not speeding when the accident occurred, but still fears what a year in a jail with male inmates would “look” like for her. Jenner, who had previously been forbidden to discuss the tragedy due to the ongoing litigation, said:

The men’s county jail. That is the scary part. It is an enormous problem that they would put trans-women in a men’s county jail.

Jail can be a scary place, especially for the transgender community. In some states, transgender individuals are not given the necessary access to hormone and other medical treatment while incarcerated. There are a few states which affirm a person’s right to express their truth as it relates to gender and house them accordingly when sentenced; however, these are few are far between. According to attorney Marvin Putnam:

A transgender person who has not made the transition physically will be assigned to the prison of their genetic birth gender, while those who have had reassignment surgery will generally go to the prison of their reassigned gender.

JennerThis explanation means a woman born in a man’s body will go to a male prison and vice versa unless they have completed the surgical process for sex-reassignment. Jenner has not undergone sex-reassignment surgery and therefore, under the law, would be sent to a man’s prison. According to a report from the National Center for Transgender Equality, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has a “disproportionate contact with the justice system” due to “a history of bias, abuse, and profiling toward LGBT people by law enforcement.” This, no doubt, heightens Jenner’s fear.

Last year, in a historic effort to safeguard transgender inmates from harassment, rape, and violence, New York’s Rikers Island jail facility opened a housing unit for transgender women. The housing unit opened with a capacity of 30 beds. New York City Department of Corrections believes that is sufficient at any given time to house transgender women who wish to be placed in the unit. In a statement released by Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte, he said:

Because inmates are not all alike, the Department is creating specialized housing for many specific inmate groups. Providing [transgender women] with specialized housing and services is good policy and meaningful reform and is expected to reduce incidents involving these individuals while also leading to better long-term outcomes, including possible reductions in recidivism.

Reportedly, prior to the new housing, transgender women were housed in the general population with males. There, they faced a disproportionate rate of harassment, violence and rape by other inmates and staff. The only other option for transgender inmates was to go into protective custody, which essentially is equal to solitary confinement where they would be locked in a cell alone for 23 hours a day.

The former Olympic decathlon gold medal winner is afraid of being sent to jail with male inmates if she is convicted of manslaughter. Prosecutors are in the decision phase on whether they should or not pursue a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter case against Jenner. Former Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Dmity Gorin feels they should not. He added:

There is no history of unsafe driving, no alcohol. He had insurance. He was sympathetic, and they will probably settle in the civil litigation. It is the type of case where the DA’s office should use its discretion and say we are not going to prosecute.

Jenner was driving a Cadillac Escalade at the time the tragic accident occurred where she rear-ended the deceased, allegedly causing Howe’s Lexus to be forced into the path of an oncoming Hummer. The deadly crash came months before Jenner publicly announced her gender transition. If charged and convicted, will Caitlyn Jenner be sent to a prison for male inmates?

by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)

Sources:

Daily News: Caitlyn Jenner talks fears of going to men’s jail over fatal car crash
Huffington Post: New York’s Largest Jail To Open Housing Unit For Transgender Women

Photo Credits:

Top Image Courtesy of PROehpien – Flickr License
Inside Image by Larry Mulvehill/Corbis Courtesy of Myfuture.com – Flickr License

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