On November 8, 2022, the Social Justice Legal Foundation (SJLF) presented its findings from a recent California Public Records Act Request (CPRA) it submitted to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) regarding access to reentry services for individuals who are transgender or gender nonconforming.
SJLF Senior Attorney Claire Simonich (along with assistance from SJLF fellows Alyssa Martinez and Amelia Piazza) presented the results and “lessons learned” to a range of advocates dedicated to assisting trans and gender nonconforming incarcerated individuals seeking parole and reentry housing, including representatives from Uncommon Law, TGI Justice Project, and Power Blossoms.
SJLF submitted its public records request to CDCR on June 23, 2022 – in response to concerns from advocates regarding the lack of safe reentry housing facilities for individuals. Specifically, SJLF sought documents regarding CDCR’s treatment of trans individuals who are seeking parole. In response, SJLF received over 3,000 pages of documents.
SJLF’s analysis of the information it received revealed that although a having specific reentry housing plan made it much more likely individuals would be granted parole, many trans and nonconforming individuals are unable to access reentry housing that affirms their gender. The records also documented instances of parole commissioners using transphobic language during parole hearings.
SJLF’s team will continue to investigate this issue, in collaboration with its grassroots partners and academic think-tanks including the UCLA Williams Institute.