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Trans prisoner ‘separated from female inmates’ after move from men’s prison

Michelle O'Toole November 13, 2015

Tara Hudson is “receiving the care she needs,” according to Caroline Dinenage, Junior Minister for Women, Equalities and Family Justice.

Ben Howlett, member of Parliament for Bath and Hudson’s MP and a member of the Women and Equalities select committee, has released a statement clarifying the current policy on transgender prisoners and outlining the kind of treatment Hudson should expect.

Hudson was sentenced to serve 12 weeks in prison for admitting to a charge of assault, and was originally placed in a men’s prison in Bristol due to her lack of a Gender Recognition Certificate, the only document the MoJ will accept when determining a person’s legal gender.

Mr Howlett later stepped in, calling for an ‘urgent review’ of prison policy.

Transgender activists protested the decision outside of the Ministry of Justice and also delivered a petition with over 150,000 signatures.

Hudson was subsequently moved to a women’s facility.

Mr Howlett wrote to the Minister and included her response with his statement.

“I cannot comment on the detail of Ms Hudson’s case.” Ms Dinenage said in her response to Mr Howlett.

“I can, however, assure you that she is being held in an appropriate environment and is receiving the care she needs.”

The Minister also clarified the current policy on how transgender prisoners are placed, saying “Prisoners are normally placed according to their legally recognised gender.

“However, the guidelines allow some room for discretion and senior prison staff will review the circumstances of every case in consultation with medical and other experts in order to protect the physical and emotional well being of the person concerned along with the safety and wellbeing of other prisoners.”

The Minister went on to explain that whilst the location of a trans prisoner is considered in accordance with this policy, trans prisoners are usually placed away from the main prison population to be protected from harm.

But this did not mean a trans prison would be placed in isolation, as the prisoner would have “supervised contact with other, trusted prisoners” as well as regular exercise.

Ms Dinenage also confirmed that a review of the treatment of transgender prisoners began earlier this year and a revised policy will come into force early next year.

The Minister ended her reply to the MP for Bath by saying “I hope this reassures you that transgender prisoners are looked after appropriately while in custody and that the policy complies with our duties under the Equality Act 2010.”

Mr Howlett said of the response “I am delighted that the Ministry of Justice is addressing this and that positive steps are being taken in this regard.”

Hudson’s placement in a male facility dominated the national press, and was also raised by Mr Howlett during an oral evidence session of the Women and Equalities select committee’s inquiry on transgender equality.

During the oral evidence sessions the Gender Recognition Act and the current pathway to obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate came under heavy fire from trans people.

More: Bath, Ben Howlett, Bristol, Caroline Dineage, ministry of justice, Prisons, Tara Hudson, Transgender

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