A transgender woman from Bath has been sent to an all male prison following admission and sentencing for an assault in a Bath City Bar.
Tara Hudson, 26, has lived as a woman for her whole adult life and has undergone six years of gender reconstruction surgery and was sentenced on Friday, October 23 to 12 weeks at the category 2 HM Prison Bristol after admitting the assault at All Bar One on Boxing Day 2014.
Miss Hudson, who was born as Aaron, changed her plea to guilty in September and her mother, Jackie Brooklyn, was expecting her to be put on an electronic tag, made to undergo an alcohol awareness course – or, at worst, sent to an all-women prison.
Miss Brooklyn said: “We think it’s totally outrageous. I don’t think she will cope well at all. I just feel the men are going to go after her. It’s going to be humiliating.” She said she wrote a letter straight after the court made its decision and sent it to the prison governor.
The local community have also rallied to Miss Hudsons aid, including local MP Ben Howlett, who is a member of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, who said he was disappointed and shocked to hear of tara’s situation.
He said: “I have heard similar evidence in other cases about the challenges faced by the transgender community. In this case, I am particularly concerned as on the face of it, it does appear that the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) Guidance does not appear to have been appropriately followed. Within NOMS there is a provision for transgender inmates, who do not have a Transgender Certificate, to still be housed within the prison estate, under the gender they live if they are likely to meet the criteria required for a Transgender Certificate.
Bristol Pride Director, Daryn Carter also pledged support commenting “This is clearly a sensitive issue but there is guidance available from the Home Office on this matter and yet Bath Magistrates have decided to sentence Tara, a woman, 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 again highlighted the shocking inequality that exists for trans people.”
“Members of the LGBT community in Bath and Bristol have jumped to action including the Bath Gender Equality Network and the regional Trans Network. I am also really pleased by the number of people who do not identify as being gay or trans condemning this action.”
A Prison Service spokesman said: “It is longstanding policy to place offenders according to their legally recognised gender. There are strict rules in place to ensure transsexual prisoners are managed safely and in accordance with the law.”
The authority said a prisoner who is in possession of a gender recognition certificate will be placed according to their legal gender, and those transitioning are entitled to live ‘in role’.
An online petition calling for Miss Hudson to be moved to an all-women prison, launched by the Bath Gender Equality Network, has already attracted over 120,000 signatures.