Merrick Garland Dodges Question About The ‘Risk’ Of Putting Men In Women’s Prisons

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Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
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Attorney General Merrick Garland refused to say whether he believed biologically male prisoners who identify as transgender posed a risk to female inmates during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Wednesday.

Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham asked Garland whether males posed a risk to females when placed in women’s prisons, and Garland made a vague comment about prisoners’ dignity while declining to answer the question directly. Garland acknowledged that the Bureau of Prisons allowed some transgender-identified male prisoners to be housed with women and said those determinations were made on an individual basis. (RELATED: ‘Chilling Effect’: Here’s How Lawsuits Could Take Down The Child Sex Change Industry)

“Are you concerned that if a biological male is sent to a female prison, that could be a risk to female prisoners?” Graham asked.

“I think every person in prison has to be dealt with with dignity and respect, that determinations of the safety questions you’re talking about have to be made on an individualized basis, and not categorically,” Garland answered.

There are currently 1,200 requests from male prisoners to be sent to female prisons, according to Graham; Garland said he was not aware of this fact. Garland also said transgender people’s requests for placement were made on the basis of security of the individual in question and the management of the prison.

Most U.S. states do not explicitly ban males from female prisons, several states have official policies allowing inmates to be housed in the prison that matches their gender identity and 35 states consider transgender inmates’ requests to be housed according to gender identity on a “case-by-case basis,” factoring in health, safety and security, according to Transgender Law Center data cited by NPR and the outlet’s own reporting.

The Department of Justice did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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