Somerset

Trans prisoner Tara Hudson 'treated like zoo animal'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionTara Hudson wants prison staff to receive extra training about trans inmates

A transgender woman was treated like "an animal in a zoo" during her time in prison, she has said.

Tara Hudson, 27, from Bath, said she was segregated at HMP Bristol and kept in her cell.

Ms Hudson, who was moved from the men's prison after a national outcry, wants more training for staff and clearer rules on transgender prisoners.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) said a national review is looking at what improvements can be made.

Ms Hudson spent six weeks in jail in 2015, after she admitted head-butting a barman.

She has lived as a woman all her adult life but, because she is legally a man, was initially sent to a male prison.

'Persecuted'

"I could tell that they weren't really ready for a prisoner like myself," she said.

"Because of my gender identity they felt they had to lock me up in segregation and keep me away from the main population of the prison.

"I felt like I was being persecuted by the state… I felt I had no rights.. I felt like an animal in a zoo."

Before she was moved to HMP Eastwood women's prison, Ms Hudson said she was kept in her cell when other prisoners were allowed out for college courses and the gym.

Image caption Suzy Dymond-White welcomes clearer rules on processing transgender inmates

The MOJ said transgender prisoners are managed safely and in accordance with the law, but it was carrying out a review to see what improvements can be made.

Eastwood Park's governor, Suzy Dymond-White, said a "one size fits all" approach would not work.

"I would prefer to maintain people as individuals and transgender people are at different states of transition and they have different backgrounds and they're in different states not just physically but emotionally and mentally as well," she said.

"A basic set of guidelines is always useful but actually we should assess the people as individuals and look at what their needs are."

Bath MP Ben Howlett, who is on the Women and Equalities Select Committee, said he was pleased the government had heeded the committee's calls to clarify the rules on transgender inmates.

"More prisoners are given a fair allocation of accommodation while serving their sentence.

"This issue is systematic of how much prejudice, discrimination and misunderstanding there is around trans community in today's society."

Related Topics

More on this story