A trans woman who was jailed for the manslaughter of her boyfriend and the attempted rape of a female shop assistant has won the right to be placed in a women’s prison.
Her lawyers claimed keeping ‘Prisoner A’ in a men’s prison was a violation of her human rights. She has already had her new gender recognised by law and her birth certificate changed under the Gender Recognition Act 2004.
The 27-year-old has not yet undergone gender reassignment surgery but has started transitioning. She argued that she could not complete her gender reassignment in a men’s prison as this is only granted when the patient has lived in the desired gender for a certain period of time.
Although A has had hormone treatment to develop breasts and laser hair removal, she is currently not allowed to wear skirts or dresses and can only wear minimal makeup.
Deputy Judge David Elvin QC, of London’s High Court, ruled that keeping her in a male prison breached the European Convention on Human Rights.
“It follows that, so long as the claimant remains within the male prison estate, she is unable to progress towards the surgery which is her objective,” he said.
He added that she will be kept separated from other prisoners when she is transferred, which is likely to be within the next few weeks.
Her barrister Phillipa Kaufman described her as “a woman trapped inside a man’s body”.
Kaufman added: “If she remains in the male estate, she is looking at the bleakest future in terms of what matters to her.”
“What she would have in the female estate is hope,” she continued, “hope that she will be able to live in role and persuade her doctors that she should have gender reassignment surgery”.
Prisoner A is serving time for strangling her boyfriend and the attempted rape of a shop assistant. She was convicted of manslaughter in 2001 and jailed for five years.
A week after being released on licence in 2003, she attempted to rape the female shop assistant. Under a ‘two-strikes’ system following the manslaughter conviction, she was given a life sentence.
Her legal team have argued her crimes were linked to her desire to be a woman and the frustration she felt at her medical treatment.
While she has served her minimum jail term, she has been denied parole on the grounds that she remains an unacceptable risk to the public.