Misgendering double rapist Martin Ponting
Ponting raped two young girls and was jailed for life in 1995.
He was moved to a female prison last year, and has recently been moved to segregation for sexually assaulting the female inmates incarcerated with him.
This was an utterly predictable outcome of locking up a male rapist with female prisoners.
Indeed, it was predicted.
Dr James Barrett of the Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic submitted written evidence in his capacity as Chair of the British Association of Gender Identity Specialists. It’s important to note that Dr Barrett works with people who are transitioning – he is not opposed to gender transition. Here is an extract from his evidence:
The criminal justice system merits quite a bit of thinking about… The converse is the ever-increasing tide of referrals of patients in prison serving long or indeterminate sentences for serious sexual offences. These vastly outnumber the number of prisoners incarcerated for more ordinary, non-sexual, offences.
It has been rather naïvely suggested that nobody would seek to pretend transsexual status in prison if this were not actually the case.
There are, to those of us who actually interview the prisoners, in fact very many reasons why people might pretend this.
These vary from the opportunity to have trips out of prison through to a desire for a transfer to the female estate (to the same prison as a co-defendant) through to the idea that a parole board will perceive somebody who is female as being less dangerous through to a [false] belief that hormone treatment will actually render one less dangerous through to wanting a special or protected status within the prison system
and even (in one very well evidenced case that a highly concerned Prison Governor brought particularly to my attention) a plethora of prison intelligence information suggesting that the driving force was a desire to make subsequent sexual offending very much easier, females being generally perceived as low risk in this regard.
I am sure that the Governor concerned would be happy to talk about this.
This raises important questions.
Why was this evidence ignored?
Did Maria Miller take up Dr Barrett’s offer to put her in touch with the ‘highly concerned’ Prison Governor?
If yes, what was the outcome of this discussion?
If not, why not?