A new prison unit in London is the first in Europe to be exclusively for trans women. It’s meant to protect the other prisoners at the women’s facility from the “male-bodied” inmates while also making sure the jail is treating the trans prisoners properly. It’s an experiment, in one way, one which a prison reform activist “cautiously welcomed.”
Now look at how the Christian Post headlined their piece about the new unit: “UK opens first transgender-only prison unit for men in women’s prison.” Because they can’t document history without throwing in the transphobic language… (To be clear, that’s not how it works. If the inmates were men, they wouldn’t be in a separate women’s prison. That’s the entire point.)
Three trans-identified prisoners who’ve legally changed their gender will be the first residents of the new wing at Downview women’s prison in Surrey, where they will not have access to any other inmates.
The unit will have 15 single cells and one cell with two beds. The new unit is big enough to house about 20 prisoners.
The new unit comes in light of reported sexual assaults in women’s prisons at the hands of men [sic] which has forced the government to review its policies allowing trans-identified inmates to serve in women’s prisons.
“Prisoner safety is our biggest concern and any decisions we take will seek to best manage the risks posed by each offender,” a British Ministry of Justice spokesperson said in a statement.
Setting aside the misgendering, which is to be expected from that publication, the move to give trans people their own space in these facilities makes sense. When trans people have been forced to share cells with cisgendered peers, bullying and harassment from both guards and other inmates have resulted in suicide. While some of the articles are only noting the concerns of the cis women, it goes both ways.
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