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Petition to stop trans woman being sent to make prison

(166 Posts)
FriendofBill Wed 28-Oct-15 00:13:10

https://www.change.org/p/bath-magistrates-prison-govenor-of-hm-prison-bristol-british-judicial-system-stop-transgender-woman-tara-hudson-from-being-sent-to-an-all-male-prison-in-bristol

I came across this on change.
Contentious issue.
My thoughts are that there needs to be a safe space for women...does that necessarily include who identifies as women?

I know there are some learned types on here, I would be very interested to hear your views.

FriendofBill Wed 28-Oct-15 00:14:50

Note to self: use preview facility

FriendofBill Wed 28-Oct-15 00:15:59

www.change.org/p/bath-magistrates-prison-govenor-of-hm-prison-bristol-british-judicial-system-stop-transgender-woman-tara-hudson-from-being-sent-to-an-all-male-prison-in-bristol

ReallyTired Wed 28-Oct-15 00:52:57

Sorry I don't have a lot of sympathy. Tara is a violent person and has committed assault. Tara has chosen to behave in a manner that requires a jail sentence.

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3291097/Transgender-woman-born-man-sent-male-prison-despite-fears-safety-following-assault-conviction.html

It doesn't matter what she "identifies" herself as, she has a Y chromosome. She will be considerably stronger than the average woman even after receiving hormones. Potentially she could be a danger to women. To be given a custodial sentence the assault must have been serious or Tara has a history of violence. Magistrates don't normally hand out custodial sentences for common assault.

Tara would be vulnerable whether she was in a male prison or a female prison. I don't know what the answer is. Solitary confinement with access to lots of visitors may well be necessary to keep her safe.

WombOfOnesOwn Wed 28-Oct-15 01:46:49

Currently in the UK, there are 82,159 men in prison and 3,948 women.

So if we see that a male is 20x (approximately) more likely to be incarcerated than a female, we now need to ask ourselves how many trans prisoners are likely to--in the presence of a "trans-friendly" policy that allows MTFs into women's prisons--enter these prisons.

It's hard to know the prevalence of transgender identity but most organizations say it's around .5%, or one in 200. So if 1/200 males in the prison system decide to voice that their gender identity is "woman," we can expect to see 410 MTFs enter women's prisons, which will mean that more than one in every ten prisoners in every UK women's prison will have been born with a penis.

Sex offenses are seven times more likely to be committed by males than females--see www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/220081/statistics-women-cjs-2011-v2.pdf--14% to women's 2%--which means 57 of those male prisoners would be likely to be sex offenders, while only approximately 80 women prisoners total have been convicted of sex offenses. So between 1/3 and 1/2 of sex offenders in British women's prisons would have been born with penises. Since the criminality patterns of MTF people match up MUCH more closely with males than females [http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016885%20], these statistics are likely to become reality with a trans-friendly policy.

Is that acceptable? Because these are the numbers we're talking about. Given the prevalence rates we've been told by advocates for trans people, this could get very difficult, very quickly. This is especially true in light of the testimony recently given to Parliament by the British Association of Gender Identity Specialists (hardly an anti-trans organization):

"The converse is the ever-increasing tide of referrals of patients in prison serving long or indeterminate sentences for serious sexual offences. These vastly outnumber the number of prisoners incarcerated for more ordinary, non-sexual, offences. It has been rather naïvely suggested that nobody would seek to pretend transsexual status in prison if this were not actually the case. There are, to those of us who actually interview the prisoners, in fact very many reasons why people might pretend this. These vary from the opportunity to have trips out of prison through to a desire for a transfer to the female estate (to the same prison as a co-defendant) through to the idea that a parole board will perceive somebody who is female as being less dangerous through to a [false] belief that hormone treatment will actually render one less dangerous through to wanting a special or protected status within the prison system and even (in one very well evidenced case that a highly concerned Prison Governor brought particularly to my attention) a plethora of prison intelligence information suggesting that the driving force was a desire to make subsequent sexual offending very much easier, females being generally perceived as low risk in this regard. I am sure that the Governor concerned would be happy to talk about this."

data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/women-and-equalities-committee/transgender-equality/written/19532.pdf

ReallyTired Wed 28-Oct-15 02:10:40

Perhaps trans people need their own wing of a prison. It might make visiting hard if all te trans criminals in UK were placed together. I am sure that Tara is a risk of being bullied. Tara deserves to be safe even if she is dangerous.

IKnowIAmButWhatAreYou Wed 28-Oct-15 08:39:17

Put Tara in solitary, problem solved.

TendonQueen Wed 28-Oct-15 08:43:54

Unfortunately I think solitary with supervised time out of that is probably the least worst option. Neither a female nor a male prison is appropriate and neither is a national prison for all trans prisoners.

MrNoseybonk Wed 28-Oct-15 08:50:18

"My thoughts are that there needs to be a safe space for women"

You think female prisons are a safe place for women?
It might be that Tara is the one in danger in a female prison.

thedancingbear Wed 28-Oct-15 09:10:49

Neither a female nor a male prison is appropriate and neither is a national prison for all trans prisoners

You wouldn't need an entire prison. A single wing with a capacity of a few hundred would be entirely sufficient.

Mide7 Wed 28-Oct-15 09:12:23

"It doesn't matter what she "identifies" herself as, she has a Y chromosome. She will be considerably stronger than the average woman even after receiving hormones. Potentially she could be a danger to women."

I think the current research suggests that after a number of years on hormones transgender women will have lost the physical advantage gained from going through puberty as a male. Obviously doesn't mean they'll be potentially less of a danger.

TendonQueen Wed 28-Oct-15 09:18:04

dancingbear I meant it wouldn't be appropriate because presumably then many of them would be a long way from family, friends and potential visitors. But then I guess that can be the case for any prisoner. To what extent do people get shuffled around the country anyway?

feckityfeck Wed 28-Oct-15 09:22:55

The article I read about this said it was happening because Tara was still stated as male in her passport. Does anyone know if this still happens for transgender people with a gender recognition certificate?

Because I'd say allowing someone who hasn't had any legal recognition of their transition into the opposite sex prisons has major implications for future cases where all a man would have to say is 'I'm a woman' and he's welcomed in.

PoppyBlossom Wed 28-Oct-15 09:25:15

Does Tara have a penis? That's rather crass, but it would sway my judgement I feel if she was more fully transitioned.

IKnowIAmButWhatAreYou Wed 28-Oct-15 09:25:50

But then I guess that can be the case for any prisoner.

Indeed, the prison near us has people travelling across the country to visit inmates. They do try to put prisoners relatively near their home area, but in some cases - sex offenders, young offenders, high risk etc there are fewer options available.....

Anastasie Wed 28-Oct-15 09:37:55

Interesting idea about segregating trans prisoners in one particular place.

I'm not sure if that would go down well with the trans movement or not. But it seems like the best option out of all of them tbh.

I have trouble with the legal recognition of a man as a woman, when he still has a penis and so on, anyway. So not the best person to ask. (and nobody did, I realise that)

ChunkyPickle Wed 28-Oct-15 10:06:42

Mide7 - I don't know if it applies in this case, but I can't see that any amount of hormones are going to shave 4 inches off someone's height - so only some of the physical differences could be mitigated.

PlaysWellWithOthers Wed 28-Oct-15 10:23:26

To what extent do people get shuffled around the country anyway?

In the male estate, fairly unlikely to be too far from family, capacity and category notwithstanding. In the female estate, the likelihood of being incarcerated a long way from family and children is high. Even if a wing were created in a prison for TW, the chances are that they would be a long way away from family, for the same reasons as women are.

However, if the reason for Tara to be placed away from the male estate is their safety, then solitary within the male or female estate is the best scenario for now. If the reason is validation for Tara's 'womanhood' then I doubt her supporters would accept this.

PlaysWellWithOthers Wed 28-Oct-15 10:25:40

The article I read about this said it was happening because Tara was still stated as male in her passport. Does anyone know if this still happens for transgender people with a gender recognition certificate?

If Tara had bothered themselves to get a GRC and have their passport changed to their new sex designation, then they would have been placed within the female prison estate.

Not sure how comfortable that would be for the other inmates to have a male bodied and violent person bunked in with them, but there you go.

ReallyTired Wed 28-Oct-15 10:30:00

I don't think that trans people are ever going to fit into a normal prison.

"Interesting idea about segregating trans prisoners in one particular place.

I'm not sure if that would go down well with the trans movement or not. But it seems like the best option out of all of them tbh. "

Its not just the views of trans people which need to be taken into consideration. Other prisoners have to live with Tara.It would be interesting to know how many trans prisoners there are in the UK.

I suppose that trans prisoners vary a lot in the level of danger they pose. A crooked lawyer/ accountant is different to someone one who has banged up for GBH or rape or paedophilia.

It would be interesting to know what prison officers see as the best the solution of where to best incasterate Tara.

Mide7 Wed 28-Oct-15 10:40:07

No I assume your right chunky, I'd only really thought about it in a physical strength way. I think the research I was thinking of was done by the IOC.

PlaysWellWithOthers Wed 28-Oct-15 10:40:55

One of the problems with housing Tara within the female estate is that it simply doesn't have the same safeguards as the male estate. Male prisoners are separated into categories based on risk assessments, whereas, to a large extent, females aren't, purely because there are fewer women in prison.

Given that TW display the same levels of criminality as their male counterparts, the tiny number of TW may well end up being overrepresented within the female estate, and pose commensurate risks to the women already incarcerated.

If you're interested, Really, I can ask friends who work within the female estate if they ever get 2 minutes to themselves what they think? I know there is a deep level of cynicism present in every Prison Officer's soul however....

feckityfeck Wed 28-Oct-15 10:53:53

If Tara had bothered themselves to get a GRC and have their passport changed to their new sex designation, then they would have been placed within the female prison estate.

Not sure how comfortable that would be for the other inmates to have a male bodied and violent person bunked in with them, but there you go.

Thanks. And no, I'm not comfortable with that idea either, but it seemed to me that this case was pretty cut and dried with the lack of a GRC.

almondpudding Wed 28-Oct-15 10:55:50

There is a lot of information on the trans enquiry page about the situation for trans prisoners.

It isn't a case of solitary or general prison population. There are many males who are vulnerable in prison who are housed in separate wings to the prison population. that decision is often made about gay men for example.

It is not really possible to put everyone who is trans in one wing or prison either. Someone who has a GRC is in a different situation to someone who has not, especially as some trans prisoners without a GRC say they are trans to get access to people to commit crime. It is not the fault of trans people with a GRC who have been through lengthy psychological evaluation to get it to be put in the same category as someone who has been spotted as having nefarious purposes and not passed that evaluation. If there was a trans unit, who was allowed in it would still have to be decided on a case by case basis by the prison service. It isn't the fault of trans people that trans activists keep pushing for gender to be self defined.

FloraFox Wed 28-Oct-15 11:00:33

There are lots of men who would be very vulnerable and at risk in prison. By far the majority of these men realise this and avoid being in that situation including by not getting into bar fights even if drunk or provoked.

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