Credit: Youtube Capture via Twitter

Simon Harris: Irish prisons not legally defined as ‘male’ or ‘female’

In response to a question on transgender prisoners, the Minister for Justice, Simon Harris, has said that “it should be noted that Irish prisons are not legally defined as ‘male’ or ‘female’ prisons”.

Minister Harris was responding to a parliamentary question from Carol Nolan TD, who has asked the Minister if he had taken note of developments in the UK where transgender prisoners, with male genitalia, who had been convicted of a sexual offence would no longer be held with female prisoners.

The Independent TD asked “the Minister for Justice if he has taken note of the statement issued in the last number of days by the UK Secretary of State for Justice, to the effect that transgender women with male genitalia, or transgender women who have been convicted of a sexual offence should no longer be held in the general women’s prison estate; if he will consider introducing such a policy here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.”

In response, Harris said that “where a court makes an order committing a person to a prison, the Prison Service must accept that person into custody in whichever prison is specified by the court. While all prisoners committed are accommodated in accordance with their legal gender, it should be noted that Irish prisons are not legally defined as ‘male’ or ‘female’ prisons.”

The issue of violent, biologically male, prisoners who say they now identify as women and are subsequently placed in women’s prisons, after they may have raped or sexually abused or threatened women, has caused much controversy.

Women’s groups have pointed to Limerick prison, where at least two biological males incarcerated in the women’s wing are sex offenders ,as highlighted by campaign group, The Countess.

They described Harris’s comments as ‘a dishonest framing’- and pointed to Prison Rules, 2007, which state: “Unless otherwise authorised by the Minister, male and female prisoners shall be accommodated in separate areas to which prisoners of the opposite gender do not normally have access”.

Minister Harris said that “the Irish Prison Service is currently finalising an updated policy in relation to the management of transgender prisoners. As part of that process the Irish Prison Service is considering all relevant information and learning arising from the experience in other jurisdictions.”

“As background for the Deputy, Prison Rules, 2007 (S.I. No. 252/2007) set out the minimum rules and regulations on all aspects of life in prisons in Ireland, including admission, accommodation, visiting rights, health, discipline, education, and so forth. Much of the daily operation of prisons is guided by the Prison Rules.”

“The Prison Service is responsible for the safe and secure custody of all persons held in prison.”

“On arrival in prison, the Prison Governor will consider all aspects of the health and well-being of the person arriving, and of the whole prison population.”


Share mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer mdi-chevron-left Prev Next mdi-chevron-right Related
Comments are closed

Do you agree with President Higgins that Irish Primary Schools "should teach sexuality in its fullest sense"?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...