New Jersey Protestors Demand Removal Of Trans Inmates From Women’s Prison

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Nearly 7 percent of inmates at New Jersey’s Edna Mahan Correctional Facility — a women’s prison — are biological males.

On the surface, 7 percent might seem like a small number. But when you consider only .05 percent of U.S. adults identify as transgender, the math doesn’t add up.

And that’s why #GetMenOut activists held a protest at the state Capitol in Trenton Friday.

At the protest, activists Jennifer Thomas and Brittany Ortiz read letters from female inmates who feel unsafe being housed with biological males.

New Jersey Protestors Demand Removal Of Trans Inmates From Women's Prison
Police protect #GetMenOut protestors from trans rights counter-protestors. (Credit: Aristide Economopoulos)

In one testimony, inmate Kokila Hiatt wrote about her experience with male prisoners who say they identify as women.

Many of them are sex offenders. When the males arrive, they cease hormone injections and continue living their lives as men. In other words, they drop the act and start doing what it is they came here for. They engage in sexual relationships with women, manipulate them into purchasing their commissary and have no qualms about bullying anyone who disagrees with them. I personally have been threatened with violence and multiple false allegations for speaking up.

Kokila Hiatt

In a New Jersey women’s prison, female inmates are housed with violent male offenders.

One of the trans inmates at Edna Mahan is Michelle Hel-Loki Angelina, born a male named Perry Cerf.

Cerf is serving a 50-year sentence for the violent rape and murder of an Ecuadorian prostitute in 2002.

While awaiting trial, Cerf wrote a letter to The New York Daily News confessing to the crime and bragged about drinking the woman’s blood.

Warning: This letter is graphic.

Yeah, I killed her. I punched and kicked her to death, crushing her skull in the process. One of the kicks landed in such a way that it broke her neck and all of a sudden her head was on backward. Since I have a most unusual taste for blood, I drank and licked and lapped up my fill … Let it be known: I am Lucifer’s Maiden servant, sent to earth born of sin, to bring suffering and pain, darkness and evil.

Perry Cerf Letter to the New York Daily News

In 2022, a transgender inmate named Demi Minor, convicted of stabbing her foster father 27 times, impregnated two female inmates at Edna Mahan.

“It was the worst murder scene I have ever seen,” Brad Wertheimer, one of Minor’s defense lawyers, told The New York Post.

And until recently, Edna Mahan housed a convicted murderer named Dejshontaye Would.

Would was living under his birth name, Daryl Graves, when he fatally stabbed his aunt 47 times and beat her over the head with a frying pan.

And these are just a few examples.

New Jersey Protestors Demand Removal Of Trans Inmates From Women's Prison

New Jersey began allowing transgender inmates in women’s prisons in 2021.

The policy requires state prisons to house transgender people according to their gender identity rather than their sex assigned at birth.

The decision was part of a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.

“The ACLU prioritizes gender identity over sex-based rights,” one of Friday’s protestors said. “They are not defending, nor are they protecting women.”

Last October, however, the New Jersey Department of Corrections changed the policy to give prisoners something called a “rebuttable presumption” of their gender identity.

That means sometimes prison officials can override their preference.

Still, the infiltration of violent biological men in women’s prison is a growing problem, according to protestor Brittany Ortiz. Ortiz said 86 percent of imprisoned women are victims of sexual violence. Few are violent offenders themselves.

“It is painfully obvious that caging this exceptionally vulnerable group of women with men is an abhorrent human rights violation,” Ortiz said. “The solution to male violence in male prisons is not male violence in women’s prisons. This needs to stop.”

Written by Amber Harding

Amber is a Midwestern transplant living in Murfreesboro, TN. She spends most of her time taking pictures of her dog, explaining why real-life situations are exactly like "this one time on South Park," and being disappointed by the Tennessee Volunteers.

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