Ammiano Introduces LGBT Prisoner Safety Act in California Assembly, Out in Sacramento,
February 24, 2009.
Sacramento – The LGBT Prisoner Safety Act, AB 382, was introduced in the California
State Assembly this week by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D – San Francisco). The
bill, sponsored by Equality California (EQCA), is designed to prevent violence against
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the state prison system.
According to a recent study from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation,
67 percent of LGBT inmates report being sexually assaulted by another inmate, a
rate 15 times higher than the overall prison population.
"All Californians deserve protection from violence," said Geoff Kors, EQCA Executive
Director. "This bill seeks to end abuse and assault against LGBT prisoners, ensuring
they receive equal and fair protection under the law."
The legislation promotes safety for and prevents abuse and assault against LGBT
people in the prison system by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to
the current list of factors that should be considered when classifying and housing
prisoners. The current list of factors includes age, gender, type of offense, and
prior time served.
"All people deserve basic protections – including those serving time in our state
prisons," Assemblymember Ammiano said upon introducing the bill. "No prisoner should
fear for his or her life or be the target of abuse because of his or her sexual
orientation or gender identity."
The bill was developed as a direct result of a Senate Public Safety Committee meeting
held in San Francisco this past December and chaired by Senator and former Majority
Leader Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles). The meeting, which was sponsored by EQCA along
with Just Detention International, the Transgender Law Center, National Center for
Lesbian Rights, and the Transgender Gender-Variant and Intersex Justice Project,
exposed the dire issues facing LGBT people in California prisons in order to produce
EQCA works to achieve equality and secure legal protections for LGBT people. To
improve the lives of LGBT Californians, EQCA sponsors legislation and coordinates
efforts to ensure its passage, lobbies legislators and other policy makers, builds
coalitions, develops community strength and empowers individuals and other organizations
to engage in the political process.