Yesterday the Bath Chronicle revealed that Tara Hudson is to be released from prison this week having served half of her 12-week sentence. Presumably she has been well-behaved while inside.
It didn’t take long, however, for that news to turn sour. Tara looks like she’s going to be OK, but today we learned that another trans woman has taken her own life in a male-only prison. A little over a week ago I reported the sad death of Vikki Thompson. Today we can add to that the death of Joanne Latham. In both cases the prisons service appears to have willfully ignored their own policy of showing flexibility and have adhered strictly to the rule that a Gender Recognition Certificate is required before a trans woman can be housed in a women’s prison.
Following Vikki’s death, urgent questions were asked last week in the Commons (thanks to Cat Smith, Labour) and the Lords (thanks to Liz Barker, LibDem). In both cases the Ministry of Justice simply said that Vikki’s death would be investigated, and that their guidelines are under review.
The fact of Joanne’s death is pretty clear evidence that nothing is actually being done, and that the Ministry of Justice isn’t taking the issue seriously.
To borrow a line from Oscar Wilde, To lose one inmate may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness. Any more and it will look like deliberate malice.
Update: There’s a petition here. Sadly I don’t think it will do any good. the MoJ has already shown its contempt for trans people over the non-binary gender petition.