Gender identity and prisons in England and Wales: The development of rights and rules; checks and balances

Bright, Keren In: Claydon, Lisa; Derry, Caroline and Ajevski, Marjan eds. Law in Motion: 50 years of Legal Change. The Open University Law School, pp. 168–193.

URL: http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/50YearsOfLaw/?p=210

Abstract

Prisons in England and Wales, in common with prisons across the world, segregate prisoners according to the gender binary: male and female. Until relatively recently, those who identify with or express other gender identities were largely ignored. This chapter traces the international developments in the care and management of prisoners with non-binary gender identities. It also critically considers developments in England and Wales, including policy, statute and prison service instructions. The policy context has been particularly fast moving in recent years - often in response to events - and the Prison Service has attempted to strike the appropriate balance between addressing the care and management needs of those prisoners with non-binary gender identities and the safety and wellbeing of all prisoners. Certainly, much progress has been made in prisons in England and Wales over the last two decades and certainly challenges remain. The resourcing of the Prison Service, and the inconsistencies between the rights and rules and the lived experience of prisoners who disclose non-binary gender identities, remain significant issues.

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