Friday, 4 September 2009

Woman should be moved to women's prison, court rules

A report from the BBC on a female prisoner, placed in a men's prison, who has had to go to the High Court to request a transfer.

The judge's reasoning, though, seems rather inadequate even if it gave the correct result.

She is now seeking gender reassignment surgery, but has been told by a gender identity clinic that it cannot take place until she has lived "in role" as a woman "within a female prison".

The judge said: "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."

This "interferes with her personal autonomy in a manner which goes beyond that which imprisonment is intended to do", he said.

"I declare her continued detention in a male prison is in breach of her rights under Article 8 (right to private and family life) under the European Convention on Human Rights."

From this, is it possible to conclude that a trans person who had either already had GRS, or did not want it, would not have a case to be moved to the correct prison? That seems really rather messed up. (the same logic would say that a cis person placed in a prison for another gender would also not be entitled to move)

Of course, if the obvious argument of "She's a woman. She's in a men's prison. Does this not strike you as really obviously wrong" had been considered a reasonable argument by the Ministry of Justice, it never would have got this far.