May 14, 2018
President Obama had a lot on his mind during his last few days in office -- including, it turns out, the prison system. Proving just how beholden the last administration was to LGBT activists, one of Obama's last acts was loosening the rules for inmates who want to be treated as a different gender than they biologically are. He claimed the decision was meant to protect "transgender inmates" from "victimization." But now we know: they weren't the ones at risk.
Letting men into the women's quarters turned out to be a major mistake. Four female prisoners in Texas were subjected to horrible treatment by the men claiming to be women. The situation was so dire that they filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to challenge the old Obama guidelines. Integrating these biological men with the female population, they argued, "creates a situation that incessantly violates the privacy of female inmates, endangers the physical and mental health of the female plaintiffs and others (including prison staff), and increases the potential for rape."
It doesn't take a genius to realize that criminals, especially men, would do anything -- including lie about their gender identity -- to gain access to women. As someone who used to work in the prison system, let me tell you: that's a recipe for disaster. Mixing populations in a cell block or bathrooms puts everyone, including the prison staff, at risk. Essentially, Obama's regulations turned an already volatile situation into a predator's paradise.
Fortunately, this is an administration that is seeking to restore the use of common sense. Officials at the Justice Department announced on Friday that they were rolling back Obama's eleventh-hour transgender rules. From now on, Trump's team explained, the Bureau of Prisons will use "biological sex" to make any determinations on inmate housing. In special situations, where a person who identifies as transgender might be in jeopardy, they would take the appropriate steps. But for now, DOJ insists, prison staff must "consider whether placement would threaten the management and security of the institution and/or pose a risk to other inmates in the institution" -- something the Obama team never gave a second thought. For the Trump crew, who've cleaned up more messes than most custodians, this is just another attempt to give Americans the return to normalcy they voted for.
But if prisoners deserve an element of privacy, doesn't everyone? The president has been fighting to give the military the same protections as these inmates -- and the courts are thwarting him at every turn. I guess we'll have to wait and see if liberals run to activist judges on this question too. The courts have already made it clear that they want to run the military. Do they want to run our prisons too?
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.