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Women in Prisons
When girls go bad, gender roles take a beating in law

HB 3096 exposes a paradox of some of the more extreme gender constructs that permeate our culture today. We are increasingly told that gender is fluid, subjective and non-binary -- an elusive and even out-moded way of categorizing and boxing-in human beings.

Occasionally, reality hits us smack in the face and we have to affirm the existence of gender so that we can create effective policies and govern ourselves in a sane way. HB 3096, introduced by Representative Tawna Sanchez (D-Portland), calls for the Oregon Department of Corrections to study issues specific to women in custody of department and to provide results of study to Legislative Assembly. This is probably a good thing. It's not hard to imagine that the crime/punishment experience of women is different than that of men, and that different policies might make sense.

The bill has an amendment readied for it, which looks likely to be adopted. The amendment fully recognizes the binary, non-fluid, non-subjective classification of gender -- based in science -- and intends to craft policy appropriate to those facts. For instance, the amendment says,

"Gender-responsive" means taking into account gender-specific needs that have been identified in research, including but not limited to socialization, psychological development, strengths, risk factors, pathways through systems, responses to treatment intervention and other unique gender-specific needs facing justice-involved persons.

One wonders, if this is to pass, how transgendered, lesbian and other subjective, self-described gender models fit into this legislation. One also wonders how the concept of "Disparate impact" applies. Disparate impact is the notion that if outcomes are disproportionately distributed across race or gender, that this is prima facie evidence of discrimination. How do we regard the fact that only 7.7% of inmates incarcerated in Oregon's prisons are women?


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-03-09 12:03:12Last Update: 2021-03-09 12:41:01



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