There are 24,000 correctional officers in the California prison system. Only one is transgender.
For almost eight years, Mandi Camille Hauwert, 35, has been a CO at San Quentin State Prison, which houses, among others, wife-killer Scott Peterson, serial killer Charles Ng, and “Dating Game Killer” Rodney Alcala. During her first five years on the job, the officers and inmates at the prison knew Mandi as Michael. Then in 2012, she began publicly transitioning to female.
Later this month, Hauwert, who has been undergoing hormone therapy for 2½ years, will undergo sex reassignment surgery to complete the process. Part of what has to be one of the smallest minority groups in America, Hauwert, the subject of a recent photo essay by Professor Richard Ross of UC Santa Barbara, spoke to me about becoming a woman while supervising male prisoners in a maximum security prison.