The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) recently announced that Jeff Macomber, former CDCR Undersecretary, had been promoted to the head of CDCR. The promotion comes amid one of the most distressing periods of the state’s modern correctional program following a series of sexual abuse accusations and the cruel policies implemented in California women’s prisons.

In 2021, WoLF Legal Director Lauren Adams Bone testified in a hearing against Macomber’s appointment as Undersecretary, citing the devastating impact of Macomber’s role in implementing SB 132, which allows men to be housed in women’s prisons based on this claimed “gender identity.” You can read the full transcript of the hearing here.

WoLF is currently suing the state of California over civil and constitutional rights violations that have stemmed from these “gender identity” policies – read more about Chandler v. CDCR.

In her testimony against Macomber, Adams Bone pointed out multiple other instances in which the former Undersecretary was seemingly unaware of the on-the-ground reality in California women’s prisons.

“There have been a number of times in recent months where they have been unaware of things going on,” Adams Bone testified. “Just during this hearing, Mr. Macomber said body cams are turned off during strip searches, and he also said it’s appropriate to do so. But, actually, official policy at [California Institution for Women] is that officers must keep their body cams on during strip searches, and the footage is being saved in the cloud.”

Adams Bone added, “According to one correctional officer, this policy is in place because male offenders who are being housed in women’s facilities are getting erections during strip searches, and making sexual comments to female staff. This was discussed at a July Inmate Advisory Council meeting due to concerns raised by the women regarding this issue.“ Female correctional officers also suffer the harms of SB 132 as they encounter male transfers in women’s prisons.

In Macomber’s time as Undersecretary at CDCR, incarcerated women in California reported rape, sexual harassment, pregnancy, and retaliation due to being housed with violent male offenders. Most of these women were already victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and other forms of male violence before they even entered the California prison system. Thanks to SB 123, that trauma continues while women are in state custody, led by Macomber….

Full story at Women’s Liberation Front.