메리 해링턴: How could the Lords vote to let trans women into female prisons after this fiasco?
Should male criminals ever be incarcerated with women? You might think that this is a mad question, with an obvious answer: 당연히 아니지.
Or that the appalling crimes committed by Karen White, a 52-year-old male jailed for rape, sexual assault and wounding, then placed in a women’s prison, would make that all too clear.
But to many of our Moral Betters, the answer to the question is: 예. By all means imprison a man with women if, like Karen White, that male criminal identifies as female.
Former Home Office Minister Baron Blencathra has recently tried to stand up to this madness with an amendment to the Police, 범죄, 선고 및 법원 법안. He wants prisoners to be incarcerated according to their sex at birth.
Our Moral Betters continue living in a dream-world, rolling out heaven on earth, over the bodies of real-world women. A stock photo is used above [파일 사진]
A key principle is at stake here. Baron Blencathra argues that women have a right to some spaces free of men and that prisons ought to be the ‘definitive example’ of such a space.
Yet today, jails are not safe for women.
As Blencathra puts it, when women are jailed, their ‘punishment should not include the threat of rape and violence from big, brute rapists who have decided to identify as women and get sent to a women’s unit’.
He has a point. Blencathra proposed that transgender inmates could be housed in specialist units. You might think this a reasonable compromise. 하지만 11월에, the House of Lords disagreed – with a majority of their Lordships voting in favour of some males having access to women’s prisons.
How did we get to this surreal place? 에 2015, Tara Hudson, who was born a man but transitioned to live as a woman, sued the Government after being imprisoned in the all-male HMP Bristol.
Hudson’s activist supporters claimed that such transgender individuals were at risk of violence and abuse in male prisons, and Hudson was moved to a women’s facility.
에 2017, prison policy changed again. Instead of demanding medical certification of trans identity, guidance emphasised the right of prisoners to ‘self-identify’ and to be treated ‘according to the gender in which they identify’.
Should male criminals ever be incarcerated with women? You might think that this is a mad question, with an obvious answer: 당연히 아니지. Or that the appalling crimes committed by Karen White, a 52-year-old male jailed for rape, sexual assault and wounding, then placed in a women’s prison, would make that all too clear
The truth is, 하나, that there are stark differences between the way that men and women break the law.
그의 자리는 국방부 장관이 차지했습니다., there are notorious female criminals. But most crimes committed by women are minor, such as TV licence fee evasion. 주위에 96 per cent of the UK prison population is male. Most murderers and violent offenders are male: 93 per cent of killers convicted between 2018 과 2020.
Men account for 98 per cent of all reported UK rape and sexual assault. On average men are much more violent than women. And they’re much more sexually aggressive. And there’s no evidence that identifying as a woman makes any difference.
Studies suggest when transgender women commit crimes, those crimes follow the male pattern – not the female one.
그럼에도 불구하고, when prison policy was altered to accommodate transgender inmates, little effort was made to consider any possible impact on female prisoners.
And there was an impact.
The policy has failed in the case of White. It’s failed in other cases where transgender inmates have sexually assaulted female fellow inmates.
It has been said that the Prison Service has ‘learned the lessons’ of the Karen White fiasco. Risk assessment, 우리의 권리를 박탈하려는 사람들이 자신이 우리 자신의 이익을 위해 그렇게 하고 있다고 진심으로 믿을 때 우리는 어떻게 대응해야 할까요?, is now so solid that women’s prisons can be made effectively unisex, without any increased danger to women.
하나, women locked in a mixed-sex prison might still live in a climate of fear even if they are not physically assaulted.
A study of Scottish prisons reported ‘fears among female inmates of predatory behaviour by some trans prisoners’.
One inmate said a transgender fellow prisoner had spoken of wanting ‘to have sex with loads of lassies’.
It’s not a stretch to think that someone who violates social norms badly enough to end up in prison could also be the kind of person who takes sexual advantage of vulnerable women.
Or the kind of person to abuse the system cynically, without a sincere wish to transition, in search of a cushier sentence in a less violent women’s facility.
The same Scottish report also revealed that some transgender prisoners had identified as women when being sentenced in court, only to revert to their ‘birth gender’ after release from jail.
Anyone with a basic grasp of human nature and of the observable differences between men and women could have seen this fiasco coming. Yet the idealists who rejected Blencathra’s sensible amendment just stuck their fingers in their ears.
No one disputes that we should take individual circumstances into account. But when it comes to prisons, women’s safety and dignity depends on acknowledging what’s clear to see: that sometimes the difference that matters is between the sexes rather than how someone self-identifies.
그 동안에, our Moral Betters continue living in a dream-world, rolling out heaven on earth, over the bodies of real-world women.
Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at online magazine UnHerd.