Bristol Pride urge Bath Magistrates and UK Prison Services to see sense **Update**
We’re calling on Magistrates and the UK Prison Service to see sense and review the placement of a Trans women from Bath in a male prison in Bristol, a prison that just this week has been named as unsafe, if not dangerous by the IMB including issues with violent incidents.
Tara Hudson from Bath was sentenced to serve 13 weeks in a Bristol male prison last Friday after pleading guilty to assault. We don’t know all the details and history of this case which is obviously a sensitive one but what we do know is that whilst Tara was assigned male at birth she is living, and has lived her adult life, as a women. She has undergone several chest reconstruction surgeries and takes regular hormone injections. There has been no statement as yet to even tell us if Tara will be treated as a women in a male prison and separated.
Yesterday Jackie, Tara’s mum finally got to speak to Tara who sadly confirmed fears that she is subject to Sexual Harassment and verbal abuse in the Prison and following this spending 23hrs a day in total solitary.
This morning (Friday 30 Oct) we joined member of the Bath Gender Equality Network and members of the public outside Bristol Crown Court on a rather wet and cold day to show our support and raise our voices to urge Magistrates and the Prison Service to reconsider the placement of Tara in HMP Bristol.
Tara was appealing her sentence and this was dismissed, but rather frustratingly the Judge said it was not his place to rule where Tara should serve her sentence and that that was down to the Prison Service.
It has now been confirmed that Tara has been taken directly back to HMP Bristol. We have already written to the Prison Governor and focus has now turned to the Prison service. As we write this there are unconfirmed reports from her solicitor that she may be moved.
There is guidance available from the Home Office on this matter and yet Bath Magistrates have decided to sentence Tara, a women, to a male prison. We believe the issue is because Tara may not have a Gender Recognition Certificate but common sense should prevail and has yet again highlighted the shocking inequality that exists for Trans people.
[A Gender Recognition Certificate can be issues by the government if those transition want their gender to be legally recognised in the UK.]
Members of the LGBT community in Bath and Bristol have jumped to action including to Bath’s Gender Equality Network, the regional Trans Network and LGBT Bristol and we are really pleased by the number of people who do not identify as being gay or trans condemning this action.
An online petition was launched by Bath’s Gender Equality Network and has already received over 5000 signatures in less than 14 hours including Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett and now has over 150,000 signatories.
The general public can clearly see that Tara does not belong in a male prison so we are calling on Bath Magistrates to use some common sense, regardless of the absence of a certificate.
The Petition can be signed HERE
In the meantime we will continue to seek assurances on the number 1 priority: Tara’s safety and wellbeing. As well as online awareness we will be working with LGBT Bristol for a coordinated effort in seeking reassurance on Tara’s treatment.