Transgender prisoner debate ‘still relevant’

23 August 2019

Carys Moseley comments on the treatment of transgender prisoners.

In all the debate about whether or not changing gender should be made easier, the question of how to treat transgender prisoners has emerged as one of the most important ones. It is an issue that refuses to go away as it concerns public safety.

Prison staff forced to lie

In July the Ministry of Justice required prison officers to use transgender prisoners’ preferred pronouns, i.e. to refer to them as members of their fantasised gender. This is despite the fact that changing gender still requires undergoing medical checks. Yet again here is an example of a government department or public body pre-empting the outcome of the consultation on the Gender Recognition Act by enacting a policy whereby people assume the right to identity as the opposite gender without having undergone medical checks. As such the Ministry of Justice is blatantly undermining the rule of law. It is forcing prison staff to lie. Already several people have lost their jobs in the public sector for refusing to lie in a similar manner. What makes forcing prison staff to lie about which prisoners are male or female especially immoral is that some of these prisoners will have committed their crimes precisely by passing themselves off as members of their fantasised gender. At the same time others changed gender after being imprisoned, a move which could be used to minimise or hide their real identities. Thus the new regime makes a nonsense of normal principles of punishment and rehabilitation.

Undermining prison policy on women

What nobody is asking in all of this is how is concern about men in women’s prisons affecting the very notion of imprisoning female offenders. There is a long-standing argument in some quarters that many female offenders should not be housed in prison because of particular vulnerabilities, such as being pregnant or being mothers of small children. This argument has been quietly gaining ground within central government.

The Ministry of Justice has published guidelines on dealing with female offenders, in which it downplays the role of imprisonment. These guidelines have hardly received any publicity, yet they suggest a long-term change in attitudes within government towards female offenders. Female offenders, it seems, are to be considered partly as vulnerable victims unless they have committed particularly serious offences. The case for imprisonment of women who break the criminal law is no longer being made coherently. Clearly nobody has the guts to cut through the lies the transgender lobby has imposed upon the prison service and the Ministry of Justice. The result is not only that transgender prisoners are indulged in their dangerous fantasies, but that women who are criminals are increasingly being treated as victims rather than being imprisoned. Belief in imprisonment as a deterrent, and as a suitable punishment, has been eroded out of cowardice. What will the long-term effect on society be?

How we came to have males in women’s prisons

At this point it is vital to outline the history of how we got here, housing males in women’s prisons. Lobbying started in 1994, when Lynn Jones, then Labour MP for Selly Oak in Birmingham set up the Parliamentary Forum on Transsexualism, which campaigned for MPs to implement transsexual rights in UK law. This was due to a constituent raising a concern about transsexual prisoners.The Forum worked closely with Press For Change, the militant transsexual rights group founded by a female-to-male activist lawyer called Stephen Whittle in 1992. In 1996 the Home Office invited Press For Change and a group called the Gender and Sexuality Alliance to prepare a report to submit to its review of the prison service’s guidelines on transsexual prisoners. In June 1996 a male-to-female transgender activist going by the name of Kate More wrote a set of proposed guidelines. Although these guidelines never became official, the very fact that they were commissioned by the Home Office shows that it had already been infiltrated. The very idea of housing males in women’s prisons was now circulating ‘in the system’.

Later in 2001 staff at Ashworth Special Hospital, a high security psychiatric hospital which has historically housed several dangerous male-to-female transgender offenders, fought and won a legal battle against a patient who claimed he had the right to wear women’s underwear. However, once again, the very idea that cross-dressing was to be permitted was now set in writing in court documents, referred to in the judgment. The blame for that falls upon the late Richard Green from Charing Cross Hospital Gender Identity Clinic, who gave evidence on behalf of the patient. This American psychiatrist, a one-time close associate of John Money, knew far less about the patient than did the psychiatrists at Ashworth who actually knew him. The judgment recorded Green’s view as follows:

“He takes the view that the claimant is a transsexual,i.e. has a clinically recognised need to live as a woman. In his view the claimant has been subjected to unnecessary and undue stress by being denied an effective opportunity to express his gender dysphoria and should be allowed an opportunity to commence a “real life test” so far as possible within the hospital setting, being allowed to dress in women’s clothing and work in the role of a woman.”

Note how Green said that this patient had a ‘clinically recognised need to live as a woman’. In other words, some psychiatrists had capitulated to emotional manipulation.

Then in 2009, after the Gender Recognition Act was passed, a male offender imprisoned for manslaughter and also attempted rape of a woman successfully sued the Secretary of State for Justice for his ‘right’ to be moved to a women’s prison on the grounds that he was a male-to-female transgender. Finally, we have prison guidelines, published at a time when there has been an active campaign to amend the Gender Recognition Act and also the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘gender identity’ the protected characteristic for transsexuals.

The paper trail of evidence here is frustratingly incomplete, but its immoral roots are clear. What on earth was the Home Office doing inviting transgender activists to write its policy on prisoners? For make no mistake of it, this is one of the earliest examples of a government department inviting them to write policy. Was the prison system being used to force a new paradigm based on lying for the rest of society? Prisoners do not have a voice because they are deliberately stripped of certain rights as a punishment. Few people care what prisoners think, but what happens when all citizens are treated as if they were prisoners?

The prison system as a dystopian vision of society

Is the prison system a symbol of where we are headed as a society? First we have the rewriting of policy by a movement built entirely on lies. Second we have a compulsory re-education programfor prison officers run by the Ministry of Justice. To call this Orwellian is not a cliché, it is entirely apt. Third we have a complete inability to shut male offenders out of women’s prisons, thereby compromising not only the safety of female prisoners but making their rehabilitation more difficult.

Another thing that has not really been discussed in the public debate recently is how the Ministry of Justice issued new guidelines in November 2016 for dealing with transgender prisoners. Naturally in order to enact these prison staff had to be able to know which prisoners identified as transgendered. On page 6 of the guidelines the Ministry of Justiceadmitted that prison officers started to identify, i.e. guess which prisoners were transgendered. This is deeply sinister as it involves prison officers imposing a transgender identity on prisoners, who are already stripped of their rights by virtue of being imprisoned. What if prison officers had got things wrong?

Although the Ministry of Justice claims this practice was stopped, I am not convinced that there is any good reason to believe this to be the case, given that it has already capitulated to a pack of lies in the first place. After all the Ministry of Justice does not require prisoners to have a Gender Recognition Certificate in order to identify as transgendered, so either it relies on people simply telling them, or if prisoners want to play mind-games prison officers may have to identify them through studying their appearance and behaviour. Surveillance by camera, i.e. facial recognition software, has already been used to guess people’s sexual orientation. It could also be used to ‘guess’, i.e. assume and impose gender identity.

A warning from Australia

Recently in Australia a gang of female prisoners in a women’s prison beat up a male-to-female offender housed in their midst. Their clear intention was to force him out by making the place feel unwelcoming. However, why was he being housed in a women’s prison in the first place? The press reported that he was de-transitioning to live as a male again.

Even the Scottish government admitted (in its original consultation on liberalisingthe Gender Recognition Act) that allowing people to change gender without medical constraints would lead to more people registering as transgendered. What this would mean is that more male criminals would identify as female in order to be allowed in to women’s prisons. The entire criminal justice system from the police all the way to the judiciary would be forced to comply.

Do we want to sink to the level where prisoners take the law into their own hands because the forces of law and order are no longer allowed to observe common sense and guarantee safety and security? Do we want to sink to the level where convicted violent prisoners appear to exhibit more common sense than prison officials and judges? For such a society is at an increasing risk of the rise of protection rackets by organisedcriminal gangs providing alternatives to official policing. If women increasingly do not feel safe because the police side with transgender activists, more and more women will turn to gangs to protect them. Such a breakdown in law and order cannot be allowed to happen.

However there appears to be no guarantee at present that the UK government is truly prepared to ditch its plans for making gender change easier. In February the Guardian newspaper discovered via a Freedom of Information request that the Extremism Analysis Unit inside the Home Office was working on a report entitled ‘Women and Girls in Extremism’. The content is still not available; we do not know whether or not it is saying that women who protest against transgender ideology are considered extremists. This isn’t an idle concern. In July Sara Khan, the government-appointed Lead Commissioner for Countering Extremism, described the actions of parents protesting LGBT indoctrination in primary schools as ‘extremism’. I have already shown how compromised attempts to mediate by Nazir Afsal were given that he sits on the board of Google’s Countering Hate and Extremism project, which provided funding in 2017 for transgender propaganda in secondary schools in south Wales.

How long will it be before saying that male offenders should not be housed in women’s prisons is deemed extremist?

The threat to Christian work among prisoners

This culture of organised lying poses a serious threat to Christian work among prisoners. For at the heart of such work is offering the hope of redemption through accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. At the heart of that is the command to put on the mind of Christ concerning all things. Fundamental to this, but unfortunately often sidelined by those who who should know better, is the need to accept the mind of Christ on the truth that God created all human beings male and female, and to put away all falsehood. There are examples of people who  detransition after committing crime and then coming to Christ. However the freedom of Christians doing prison work to call people living a lie as putative members of the opposite gender will not be helped by the deepening of the pro-transgender mentality in the prison service and the Ministry of Justice. Instead it is perfectly possible that any such Christian talk could get slammed as ‘conversion therapy’.

The fact that last March the Ministry of Justice opened the first transgender prisoners’ wing may look like a solution to the serious problems outlined above. In reality however this wing was opened in a women’s prison in south London, HMP Downview. This makes it obvious that the Ministry of Justice made a mockery of concerns for women in the prison service and chose a way of getting round any objections to housing males among women. By housing transgender prisoners in a wing inside a women’s prison, the Ministry of Justice displayed astounding hypocrisy and arrogance. In light of this, the new pronoun policy should come as no surprise.

Stop all plans for a gender identity law

There is one answer and one answer alone to these problems, which is to stop all plans to make gender identity a protected characteristic and to make changing gender easier. This has to include putting a stop to all rewriting of ‘soft law’ such as departmental guidelines, policies, protocols, memoranda and suchlike to treat ‘gender identity’ as if it really were a protected characteristic under the law, when in fact is isn’t at all. As ‘gender identity’ was a concept invented by a child abuser and spread by an influential paedophile, it has no validity whatsoever. It should be rooted out of the criminal justice system entirely.

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