INDEPENDENT NEWS

No Pride in Prisons celebrates successful action

Published: Thu 27 Aug 2015 03:20 PM
No Pride in Prisons celebrates successful action
No Pride in Prisons has just received word that trans prisoner, Jade Follett, has had her transfer request to a women’s facility approved.
‘We have exclusive word from Jade herself that she was moved today just after lunch,’ says spokesperson Jennifer Katherine Shields.
‘We are absolutely thrilled that Corrections has taken our demands seriously. They can no longer ignore the very real danger that Jade was in.’
‘We hope that now that Jade has been officially transferred, she will be able to serve out the rest of her sentence in a far safer environment.’
The group says this is the start of a much longer conversation about the treatment of trans people inside and outside of prison.
‘The fact that the policy places trans women almost always in men’s prisons by default shows how much needs to be changed.’
The current process, which requires a change of ‘sex’ on a birth certificate is thoroughly inadequate. ‘Many trans people, who already experience discrimination in the workplace and from family, do not have the resources to fund such an expensive change.’
‘What Corrections has demonstrated today is both their bureaucratic incompetence, in that they took two months to approve this request, and their institutional transphobia.’
In Corrections’ statement today they said, ‘We are very much aware and sympathetic to the particular needs of transgender prisoners including issues surrounding their placement and safety.’
In response, Shields says that ‘if this were true, Jade would never have been placed in a men’s prison for 9 months.’
Corrections also detailed in their statement the number of prisoners who have had their transfer requests approved. However, when members of No Pride in Prisons submitted Official Information Act requests, Corrections denied the availability of any such information.
‘It is incredibly important that the Department of Corrections be transparent about the way trans prisoners are being treated.’
‘Corrections is currently refusing to collect and release data on the number of trans prisoners and where they are being placed, the number of transfer requests and the number of incidences of violence against trans prisoners.’
‘That it took a hunger strike to get Corrections’ attention to this urgent issue indicates just how little regard they have for prisoners’ safety.’
‘If it emerges that other trans prisoners have been treated in a similar manner, we will not hesitate to take action.’
No Pride in Prisons is organising a public forum on trans issues and prison abolition next Friday at the University of Auckland.
ends

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