WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) released the third episode in its exclusive documentary series, Cruel & Unusual Punishment: The Male Takeover of Female Prisons. This episode features the story of Alissa Kamholz, a current inmate at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) who was forced to be housed with a male offender. Kamholz conducted the interview by phone from inside CCWF. In the documentary, Kamholz shares the consequences of policies that allow male inmates—including convicted sex offenders—to declare themselves “women” and be moved to the female facilities. 

After suffering years of sexual abuse beginning in childhood, Kamholz saw prison as her “safe place,” away from her male abusers in the free world. After California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 132—legislation that allowed male prisoners to transfer into women’s prisons—Kamholz was forced to share her room with a biological male felon who shared ties with her past abusers. 

Now, Kamholz, who battles with PTSD from her abuse, explains in this episode that being forced to share her living space with a male has been one of the hardest experiences she’s had to endure.

Kamholz describes how, after three weeks of living in her cell, the male offender allegedly choked and beat her female roommates. She said the man was then rewarded by being moved to a separate honor dorm in his girlfriend’s room—a move Kamholz felt was a “reward” for the inmate’s “bad behavior.”


“You’re not able to get the rehabilitation and change you need because it’s really like a fight or flight, your survival,” Kamholz says in the documentary. “You’re just trying to get to your parole date without getting raped. And on the other side, these men are supposed to be being rehabilitated as well. And when they’re being enabled to be predators, they’re not rehabilitating.” 

IWF’s Storytelling Director and co-producer of the series, Kelsey Bolar, said, “Kamholz’s story illustrates the sheer cruelty of policies that allow male felons to reside in female prisons, and why they must be reversed. Though Kamholz was sentenced to prison, she wasn’t sentenced to be forced to share her bathroom, shower, and bunk space with a biological male pretending to be a woman. To force a victim of sexual abuse to live in this environment is the very definition of cruel and unusual punishment.”

IWF’s Storytelling Manager and co-producer of the series, Andrea Mew, added, “Speaking directly with currently incarcerated women like Kamholz provides a critical point of view on “transgender” prison policies that – generally speaking – is kept in the dark. But because the public isn’t hearing their pleas for help, that ultimately means these women are sentenced to suffer in silence. Through this series, it’s our intention to toggle off that mute button and make sure that everyone can hear the suppressed voices of female inmates who are pleading for women’s rights to be restored – especially behind bars.”

Watch Alissa Kamholz’s story HERE.


As more states allow men who identify as women into women’s prisons, few are aware of the harmful fallout. Women with histories of trauma and domestic abuse are forced to share their most private and intimate spaces with intact males—many of whom are violent, sexual predators serving time for heinous crimes.

Allowing male offenders to reside in women’s prisons is dangerous and unfair. Put simply, it’s cruel and unusual punishment. These stories stand as a testament to why biological sex matters, especially in institutional settings. Incarcerated women need and deserve female-only spaces. Anything less is a violation of their most basic human rights.

The eradication of single-sex prisons is harming female inmates.

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 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 Cruel & Unusual Punishment: The Male Takeover of Female Prisons trailer HERE. Each episode of this ongoing short documentary series produced by IWF, varying from 5 to 10 minutes in length, will be released individually over the coming weeks, with episodes available to the public for free on YouTube.

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