WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) released the trailer for its new exclusive documentary series, Cruel & Unusual Punishment: The Male Takeover of Female Prisons. The multipart series co-produced by Kelsey Bolar and Andrea Mew exposes the fallout of policies that allow male offenders—including convicted sex offenders—to declare themselves “women” and be housed with females, as told by female inmates, along with insiders and whistleblowers from the correctional world. 

The trailer for “Cruel & Unusual Punishment” previews the voices of female inmates sharing the tough-to-swallow details of what happens when women are forcibly housed with male offenders.   

Across the country, states are blatantly harming women to favor men. There is little regard for women — especially those behind bars who suffer neglect, abuse, and discrimination — when states adopt policies that allow men in women’s-only spaces. These dangerous policies package women’s legitimate fears as bigotry.

After Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 132 into law, California became ground zero for male integration into women’s prisons. The law does not require men to undergo “gender-affirming” procedures to gain access to women’s prison cells — it simply requires them to declare a feminine “gender identity.” 


IWF’s Director of Storytelling and co-producer of the series, Kelsey Bolar, said, “The untold fallout of women behind bars who are being forced to share private and intimate spaces with men is shocking and unfair. Those of us in the free world have an obligation to speak up against this injustice and be a voice for women behind bars who feel they have none.”

IWF’s Manager of Storytelling and co-producer of the series, Andrea Mew, said, “By shedding light on a diversity of voices through our series, we hope everyone can see how discriminatory it is for women to bear the burden of ‘inclusion,’ and understand why efforts to keep women’s spaces female are needed now more than ever.”

Amie Ichikawa, formerly incarcerated at the Central California Women’s Facility now serving as an IWF ambassador, said, “Incarcerated women have been silenced and oppressed on levels that many people cannot understand, and it is being done in the name of inclusivity under the guise of trans rights. What we have come together to create with this series is a direct view into the harsh reality of forgotten incarcerated women who have been abandoned by the very system that is in place to protect them. This is a nationwide female human rights issue that needs our immediate attention.”

In this documentary mini series, IWF brings voices to light who detail the untold, gruesome story about what’s been happening to female inmates behind closed doors. As more and more prison systems allow biological males to declare themselves “women” and opt to be housed in facilities meant for females, the voices of those most affected deserve to be heard. 

Watch the trailer HERE. Each episode, varying from 5 to 10 minutes in length, will be released individually over the coming weeks, with the first episode featuring a former inmate from California who was forced to share a living cell with a male, launching next week.

Direct media inquiries and booking requests to [email protected]



Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.