Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Last year we had the horrifying sight of a Judge sentencing a transgender woman to imprisonment in a male prison. The Judge admitted that this would result in abuse, possibly even rape; as "compensation", he reduced her sentence by four and a half months.

The Judge's hands were tied by backwards prison regulations which do not recognise transgender prisoners. But now those regulations are being changed:

Secondly, in line with international practice, a more flexible system is being introduced for transgender prisoners.

If the sex on their birth certificate has been changed, these prisoners will be managed in accordance with their legal sex. Transgender prisoners whose sex on their birth certificate has not been changed can apply to be moved into a prison with their identified gender, excluding those serving or facing charges for serious sexual offending. The Chief Executive will consider these applications on a case by case basis.

“Corrections has taken on board concerns about the safety of transgender prisoners, and a request from the Ombudsman to reconsider its policy,” says Mrs Tolley.

“By adopting a more flexible approach around the placement of transgender prisoners, we can address risks of victimisation and assault, while taking into account the welfare of all prisoners.”

This is a good move, and a recognition of the basic right of all people, even prisoners, to be free from abuse and violence.