SB 310 – Name and gender changes for transgender prisoners

The Basics

  • Would allow transgender inmates in California state prisons to legally change their names and genders (on forms, etc.)

Who to call/Bill Status

In-depth

  • As of now, California inmates can only change their name if the Secretary of the Department of Corrections approves it. This is obviously, in part, for safety reasons–if an inmate changed their name to avoid detection, that could be a risk to the public.
  • Still, transgender people struggle to negotiate their identities every day. If an inmate medically transitions while in prison, could it help them better reintegrate to society one they are out?
  • What do studies say about the employment and other prospects for a trans person when he or she has a name and official gender that matches their physical appearance?
  • If it costs money to allow trans inmates to do this, how much? To what extent do the benefits (increased employment prospects, etc.) to society, outweigh the cost to taxpayers? I imagine these folks comprise so small a portion of the prison population (and by that I don’t mean trans people in general, I mean transitioning trans people who are seeking to make a legal change of identity) that the fiscal issues are less important than the philosophical and ideological issues at hand.
  • Here is the full text of the bill. Since it’s been through committee hearing, the minutes of the committee bill analyses go into detail the arguments for and against. For example, read the Public Safety Committee Hearing bill analysis for the Sheriffs’ Association’s opposition arguments and the Judiciary Hearing bill analysis features some additional arguments in favor.

News Coverage

 

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