Debates between Lord Faulks and Baroness Meyer during the 2019 Parliament

Mon 10th Jan 2022
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
Lords Chamber

Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Lords Hansard - part one & Report stage: Part 1

Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Debate between Lord Faulks and Baroness Meyer
Baroness Meyer Portrait Baroness Meyer (Con)
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My Lords, I support this amendment, and the first thing I want to say is that we are talking only about men who have not transitioned to women, which is quite different.

Although we have come a long way since the 2007 Corston report to improve conditions for women in prisons, we are now failing them. Indeed, something has recently gone badly wrong. Women prisoners have a right to the security of a single-sex space. By definition, women are deprived of this security if men are admitted to their prison, including trans women prisoners of male sex, whether or not they have the benefit of a GRC. By the same token, a women’s prison is no place for vulnerable at-risk males. Prison policy must provide for the protection of everybody, and this amendment makes that clear.

How then have we allowed prison policy to be captured by a concern for the protection of trans prisoners at the cost of imprisoned women’s most fundamental rights? There is no balance or fairness in that. The answer of course is that government departments have allowed themselves to be influenced, even intimidated, by noisy and modish pressure groups, whose wilful ignorance of basic science has all the features of a cult.

I have never visited or been to a prison, but as a woman I can imagine how it must be to be incarcerated and threatened. On this note, I very much support this amendment and thank my noble friends Lord Blencathra, Lord Farmer and Lord Cormack for tabling it.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Non-Afl)
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My Lords, I have visited a number of prisons, both women’s prisons and male prisons. I have also sat where the noble Lord, Lord Wolfson, sits and answered a number of difficult questions about where you house those who have transitioned, or purport to transition, usually from the male gender to the female gender. It is an incredibly difficult task that the Ministry has to perform, and it requires assessment and nuance. As a young barrister, I had the privilege of representing April Ashley, a pioneer in this field who died about three weeks ago. She changed from a man to a woman after pioneering surgery in north Africa and had lived successfully as a woman for 30 years when she was arrested by the police and thrown into a male jail. She was philosophical about the unfair charge, but less philosophical about the desperately inconsiderate approach that was shown by the police.