Minnesota's Lone All-Female Prison Is No Longer as Transgender Inmate, a Biological Man, Is Relocated

10 other left-leaning states house prisoners based on gender identity

Transgender Minnesota inmate Christina Lusk (Minnesota Department of Corrections)
June 13, 2023

For more than 100 years, the Shakopee Correctional Facility has been Minnesota's only women's prison. That changed earlier this month, when the state transferred to the jail a biological male who claimed gender identity "discrimination."

Minnesota's Department of Corrections in early June agreed to move Christina, formerly Craig, Lusk to the all-female facility, the first time the state has done so. The move comes after Lusk sued the Minnesota Department of Corrections last year over "discrimination and harassment" at the men's facility where he had been remanded, according to his lawsuit. Lusk complained of "misnaming and misgendering," as well as being denied sexual reassignment surgery, insisting the actions were in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act, the Minnesota Constitution, and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

The decision to move Lusk means Minnesota's only all-female prison is no more. It also aligns Minnesota with some of the nation's most liberal states, such as California and Connecticut, that have similarly eradicated their all-female prisons to allow transgender inmates to be housed there.

In California, the housing of transgender inmates in all-female prisons has affected biologically female inmates a great deal. Faced with the prospect of unruly male-to-female transgender inmates, prison officials have begun increasing restrictions on movement in female correctional facilities, the Washington Free Beacon reported in January. The state has also ignored claims of sexual assault and rape from biologically female inmates, according to a legal complaint filed on behalf of several female offenders housed under the California Department of Corrections.

"A goal of decreasing vulnerability of a subset of men (those with 'sexual minority' designation) cannot be pursued by increasing the vulnerability of women," the complaint reads. "Decreasing the risk that a subgroup of men will suffer prison rape only by creating a corresponding increased risk that women will suffer prison rape is neither constitutional nor compliant with PREA."

Similar problems have plagued other liberal states. Last year in New York, a transgender inmate at Rikers Island penitentiary raped a female prisoner while in the women's section of the jail and was sentenced to seven more years behind bars for the offense. More recently, in January, law enforcement officials in Cincinnati, Ohio, confirmed they were investigating an alleged rape of a female prisoner by a transgender inmate. In New Jersey, meanwhile, a transgender prisoner last year impregnated two fellow inmates, forcing the state to put the prisoner back into a male-only facility.

A third of biologically male transgender inmates seeking to be moved to female prisons are registered sex offenders, according to data from the California Department of Corrections.

California's liberal governor, Gavin Newsom, in 2020 signed the Transgender Respect, Agency, and Dignity Act, which requires the state's Department of Corrections to house inmates based on their preferred gender identity. Left-wing executives in Connecticut and Washington, D.C., have implemented similar policies, while other states transfer transgender inmates on a case-by-case basis.

More states will likely join the ranks of California and Connecticut. New York is considering legislation that requires jails and prisons to place anyone who "self-identifies as transgender, gender nonconforming, nonbinary, or intersex" in a correctional facility that aligns with his or her self-described gender status.