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Another trans woman sent to men’s prison, despite government promises

Nick Duffy June 4, 2016
Prison

Another transgender woman is in fear for her life inside a men’s prison – despite government assurances that safeguards would be put in place.

The government promised a review last year of the way trans people in prisons are dealt with, after two female prisoners died within weeks of each-other while being held in all-male facilities.

A third prisoner, Tara Hudson, was moved to a female facility after a public campaign – and since her release has been vocal in criticising her treatment.

But despite the promised review, PinkNews has confirmed that yet another woman, who does not wish to be named publicly, is being held in a men’s prison in England.

The woman’s MP Daniel Zeichner has pressed the issue, telling PinkNews: “When you are guilty of a crime, society expects an appropriate punishment.

“But this is a double punishment – not just deprivation of liberty, but failing to respect transgender people as well.

“It is deeply sad that in the 21st century transgender prisoners are being treated in this way I hope there will be swift action to stop their rights being violated.”

The Labour MP for Cambridge raised the issue with equalities minister Nicky Morgan, saying in Parliament: ” A transgender constituent of mine who is being held in custody is having a very difficult time in a men’s prison.

“[After the previous cases] we were promised a review. What discussions has she had with the Justice Secretary and how close are we to some outcomes from that review?”

Mrs Morgan said she would “look at” the specific case, adding: “The Government are firmly committed to ensuring that the needs of transgender prisoners are fully met. The Ministry of Justice has carried out the review and it will be published shortly.”

 

The MP also plans to raise the issue with the Home Secretary.

At present, it is common for incarcerated trans people to be sent to a prison that reflects their legal gender, despite safeguards designed to protect them.

However, this means trans women who have not yet completed the bureaucratic gender recognition process are often initially sent to the ‘wrong’ prison – even if they have been living as female for many years.

Trans groups have warned that demographically, trans women facing prison time are also the least likely to have secured a Gender Recognition Certificate, due to the complexity of the process.

The Republic of Ireland last year enacted a massively simplified process of gender recognition, which aims to eliminate many of the hurdles to changing legal gender.

The Scottish government is looking at adopting a similar system – which could make changing your gender as simple as renewing a passport.

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More: England, jail, Labour, mp, prison, prisoner, Trans, Transgender

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