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Two inmates on New Jersey’s only women’s prison are pregnant after reportedly having sex with a transgender inmate.
It appears the women became pregnant through “consensual sexual relations with another incarcerated person,” Dan Sperrazza, executive director for foreign affairs at the Justice Department, told NJ.com.
The prisoners are being held at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in Clinton, which has faced a long string of sexual assault scandals. Gov. Phil Murphy last year announced plans to close the facility, which is New Jersey’s only women’s prison.
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The jail houses more than 800 inmates and began housing transgender women last year after a lawsuit brought by a trans inmate who had been living in male prisons for 18 months and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.
The facility currently houses 27 inmates who identify as transgender, according to NJ.com. New Jersey policy does not require transgender inmates to undergo gender reassignment surgery in order to be held at the facility.
“While the DOC cannot comment on specific disciplinary or housing decisions that might be considered in light of these events, the Department always reserves all options to ensure the health and safety of those in its care,” said Sperrazza the Daily Mail.
Two Edna Mahan inmates filed a lawsuit last year to end New Jersey’s gender identity policy for prisons, alleging they were harassed by trans inmates and that transgender inmates have sex with female inmates.
ACLU legal director Jeanne LoCicero defended the policy of allowing transgender inmates in a women’s prison as a policy that protects the rights of transgender women.
“[It’s] consistent with New Jersey’s strong antidiscrimination laws, which prevent discrimination and harassment based on gender identity,” she told NJ.com.
The union represents correctional officers Meanwhile, politics has struck at the prison.
“We opposed this policy change because we believed it would adversely affect the general population of female inmates housed at Edna Mahan and would also place an additional burden on our Correctional Officers assigned to that facility,” the union president said to NJ.com.
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An investigation has been launched into the matter. The names of the pregnant women and the transgender inmate were not released.