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Richard Garside
Thread: Could Karen White be transferred back to a women's prison? The short answer is yes. Here's how. /1
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Richard Garside Oct 12
Replying to @RichardJGarside
Karen White is currently being held in a male prison and is likely to be so for the time being. Many assume that White will be held in a male prison for the entire prison sentence. This is not necessarily the case. /2
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Richard Garside Oct 12
Replying to @RichardJGarside
According to media reports, White continues to claim to be a woman and is in the process of transitioning. This could include applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate, which can be awarded to males who retain their male genitalia. /3
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Richard Garside Oct 12
Replying to @RichardJGarside
With a GRC, White would be considered to be a woman. What happens then? /4
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Richard Garside Oct 12
Replying to @RichardJGarside
The current Prison Service Instruction on transgender prisoners states: 'Unless there are exceptional circumstances... prisoners must be located according to their legal gender.' /5
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Richard Garside Oct 12
Replying to @RichardJGarside
What are the 'exceptional circumstances' that could stop White, with a GRC, being transferred to a women's prison? The risk posed to women is not 'exceptional' enough. /6
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Richard Garside Oct 12
Replying to @RichardJGarside
The Instruction states that 'Women offenders who present a high risk of harm to other women are managed safely in the female estate. Transgender women who pose similar risks should be managed in a similar way in the female estate.' /7
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Richard Garside Oct 12
Replying to @RichardJGarside
According to the Instruction, refusal to transfer is only possible 'if the risk concerns surrounding the prisoner are sufficiently high that other women with an equivalent security profile would also be held in the male estate.' /8
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Richard Garside Oct 12
Replying to @RichardJGarside
On the face of it, this means that White could only be refused transfer if the Prison Service could demonstrate that a female prisoner with a similar risk profile to White would be transferred to a men's prison. In practice this could be very difficult to demonstrate. /9
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Richard Garside Oct 12
Replying to @RichardJGarside
Some will argue that White is atypical of the vast majority of transgender prisoners. This might be true, although we simply don't have enough information on transgender prisoners to know one way or the other. /10
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Richard Garside Oct 12
Replying to @RichardJGarside
In any case, the test of a good policy is whether it is robust enough to deal with the abusers, manipulators and chancers, not just those who are sincere in their beliefs. In my view, the Prison Service Instruction fails this test. /11
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Richard Garside Oct 12
Replying to @RichardJGarside
I'm trying not to be alarmist here. I do, though, want to point out that it is entirely possible, within the current policy, that White, or another male-bodied prisoner, will be able to manipulate the policy to gain access to females to abuse. /12
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Richard Garside Oct 12
Replying to @RichardJGarside
Transferring male-bodied prisoners who identity as women to the female estate is not, in my view, a satisfactory solution. It is, though, consistent with the general approach, by successive administrations, of treating women prisoners as an afterthought. /13
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Richard Garside Oct 12
Replying to @RichardJGarside
Leaving aside the specific threat White or similar prisoners might pose, most women in prison have experienced grotesque and traumatic male sexual and other violence. It is not fair on women in prison to expect them to share their spaces with male-bodied prisoners. /14
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Richard Garside Oct 12
Replying to @RichardJGarside
It is entirely possible for the Prison Service to revise its policy and create separate provision for transgender prisoners: one that respects their beliefs about their gender without expecting women prisoners to deal with the consequences. /15
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Richard Garside Oct 12
Replying to @RichardJGarside
If it does not do so, many will be justified in concluding that the Prison Service considers the needs and interests of a few male prisoners to be more important than the needs and interests of the around 4,000 women currently in prison. /END
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