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Crime

Trans woman in men’s prison ‘injected bleach into her testicles’

Michelle O'Toole December 17, 2015

Labour MP Cat Smith has read out a shocking letter she has received from a transgender woman currently serving her sentence in a men’s prison.

The shadow minister for women told parliament that since she had taken up the issue of the Ministry of Justices (MoJ) treatment of transgender prisoners she has received several letters from transgender prisoners.

Ms Smith explained that she was “alarmed to learn” of the story of one prisoner who had been denied access to hormone treatments and gender reassignment surgery.

The prisoner also claimed to have been raped twice and sexually assaulted during her time in a men’s prison according to the shadow minister.

Ms Smith explained that the unnamed prisoner begun her transition in 2008 and made the statutory declaration that she intended to live the rest of her life as a woman in 2012.

However, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is still refusing to allow her access to surgery and hormones, even though she was at the final stages of seeking these treatments privately before she was sentenced.

Ms Smith quoted from the prisoners letter, saying “The governor [has] blocked all my medical letters to my surgeons, the prison have no right to strip me of my care and hormone treatment.”

“There is no knowledge of how suicidal I am because they don’t care what impact their choices have on me physically and psychologically.

“I’m totally destroyed, not the woman I was. I feel I will kill myself soon. I cannot do this now.

“Please will you help me?

“I cannot take no more – I’m a woman in a male prison. This is not right.”

Ms Smith went on to outline that the prisoner was feeling incredibly vulnerable and had many documented examples of self harm, including “injecting bleach into her testicles” and “attempting self surgery to remove her scrotum”.

The last quote Ms Smith read out said “I hope you can help me and get me out of this hell of a prison, that’s not fit for transgender people or cares for them.”

The shadow minister went on to explain that she had been told by NOMS that they agreed that once the prisoner is released from custody that her supervision in the community will take place in female approved premises.

However, they did not say how they planned to support the prisoner during her sentence.

Ms Smith remarked that this response offered no consistency and this kind of account was common amongst the transgender prisoners she had received letters from.

The issue of the treatment of transgender prisoners was first brought to national attention back in October when Tara Hudson was orignally sent to a men’s prison to serve a 12 week sentence for assault.

After a national campaign by trans activists which culminated in a petition with over 150,000 signatures being delivered to the MoJ, Hudson was moved to a women’s prison.

Since then two trans women, Vicky Thompson and Joanne Latham, have been found dead inside the men’s prisons they were serving sentences in.

Earlier this month a poll revealed that most British citizens believe that trans women should be housed in women’s prisons.

More: gender recognition act, Tara Hudson, trans prisoners, Transgender, transphobia, Vicky Thompson

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