Valerie Jenness, Cheryl L. Maxson, Jennifer Macy Sumner, and Kristy N. Matsuda, University of California, Irvine
Criminal Justice Policy Review, 21(1)
Drawing on official data and original interview data on 315 transgender inmates in California prisons for men, this research provides the first empirical portrayal of a prison population in California that is unique by virtue of being both transgender and incarcerated. Situated at the nexus of intersecting marginalities, transgender inmates in California prisons are diverse with regard to their gender presentation, gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual attractions. In addition, both incarcerated and non-incarcerated transgender populations fare far worse on standard demographic and health measures than their non-transgender counterparts in the U.S. population, the California population, the U.S. prison population, and the California prison population. With the possible exceptions of partnership status and educational attainment, these factors combine to reveal that transgender inmates are marginalized in heretofore undocumented ways. At a time in which evidence-based corrections is increasingly embraced by corrections officials in the U.S., this article provides the first systematic profile of transgender prisoners as a heretofore “forgotten group” of prisoners (Tewksbury & Potter, 2005).