LGBTQ Prison Testimonies: Dakota Rose in California

July 2020
Dakota Rose Austin
Kern Valley State Prison, California

Ms. Dakota Rose, a trans woman incarcerated in California, asks for help to stop the violence against LGBTQ people housed in the Sensitive Needs Yard, a place intended to keep them safe from homophobic and transphobic attacks. Various populations at risk of harm are placed there, not just LGBTQ people. For more information, see this resource written by currently and formerly incarcerated trans activists.

“My Cup of Tea”

To all of my incarcerated trans-sisters/brothers and non-binary identifying individuals, what’s Gucci! I am Dakota Rose, an incarcerated trans-woman, African Am. who was privileged to read my sis-in-solidarity, Fatima M. Shabazz’ submitted article regarding “transgender housing in prison.” Instinctively, I felt a sense of pride, compelled to interject my perspective and push for out (LGBTQ) advocacy, activism and overdue civil recourse.

Currently I am housed at Kern Valley State Prison, a max security level IV (180 design) SNY/NDO (sensitive needs yard/non-designated) in which a vast majority of the population are identified by CDCR [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] administration as STGs (security threat group/gang members). CDCR administrators, such as Sec. Scott Kernan in conjunction with C. Pfeiffer, K.V.S.P. warden, have knowingly condoned a perilous homophobic and transphobic culture, which has subsequently led to various hate crime acts of violence, discrimination, sexual harassment and assaults upon the LGBTQ population.

Custody staff to the upper echelons of CDCR administrators are complicit in the systemic homophobia, transphobia, discrimination and acts of practiced hate crimes imposed upon the LGBTQ population, specifically on Delta-FAC., K.V.S.P.

Due to the abundance of STGs being the majority population, their philosophical perspectives and “prison politics” are the end-all-be-all rule of law on Delta facility, permissibly practiced and enforced by the many STG sects and correctional custody staff/administrators. Such perilous philosophy being enforced only ensures that any and all identifiable LGBTQ individuals’ safety is imminently endangered.

While housed at K.V.S.P. for the past 2 1/2 years, I’ve personally experienced sexual harassment and acts of discrimination within the same timeline. I’ve also witnessed or have firsthand accounts of my sis/bros subjected to violent hate crime acts (assaults w/ bodily harm) by the aforementioned STGs and correctional peace officers! Because of the STG populations’ disdain for the LGBTQ population, if any LGBTQ identifiable inmate has yet to be subjected to an imminent act of hate crime violence, typically my sis/bros enforce vigilant acts (which ensure their safety) of violence upon STGs or correctional officers, subsequently being removed from an environment of systemic hate, discrimination, racism, homo/transphobia and violence related to admin segregation. [Editor’s Note: The author is referring to people intentionally getting sent to solitary confinement as punishment so they can be safe.] Such recourse is extremely counterproductive—hypocrisy to the CDCR’s rehabilitative culture, professed yet not practiced. Nobody should have to compromise their programming status and ultimate freedom due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

I am presently exhausting CDCR grievance/appeals with K.V.S.P.’s admin and CDCR’s CCHCS (CA Correctional Health Care Services). Ultimately, I too desire to pursue civil litigation, as the CCHCS is very much complicit to the culture practiced at K.V.S.P. as well.


Hopefully this submitted and informative article will be published and compel any and all sis and bros of our community to submit some informative recourse if not inspiration, as Fatima has done … thanks, Doll!

Yes, all trans individuals are entitled to live with respect and dignity. And if this will provide a modicum of such, why not pursue making it happen, huh?

Love life. Live loyal.

“Dakota Rose”

D. Austin #K78214

K.V.S.P., POB #5104

Delano, CA. 93216

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