PRISONER CELL BLOCK MSP
Sometimes you’d scream at the apparent ineptitude of politicians and can’t help but wonder if they’re deliberately obtuse because surely to goodness nobody in such an elevated position can be that thick.
You know exactly what I mean – the accommodation of men in women’s prisons. A double rapist in a jail designed to house, punish, rehabilitate women – women who are predominantly victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, 90% of whom have been battered and abused to hell with head injuries inflicted by a male partner long before they’d a criminal record. Mainly victims, set on a path to criminality they did not choose.
Scotland’s shame too has for centuries included unnecessary hunger and poverty, in the last century alcoholism, drugs and suicide – again arising mainly from want and our country’s inability or unwillingness to stand on our own two feet, despite our multifarious expeditions abroad when we founded countries, constitutions and civilisations. Strangely they remain successful and thriving as we sink.
My aunt was a prison officer when Cornton Vale opened in the 70s and soon so was my Mum. I became a lawyer and visited prisoners there; some because I had their criminal case to conduct but more often than not through representing their interests battling against enforced adoption of their children, removal of contact and the extinguishing of parental rights.
I learned that girls are more prone to become victims of incest and all forms of sexual abuse than boys; but boys are not immune. Grooming with drink, drugs and blackmail are incredibly easy tasks for men with money, power and privilege. Our prisons, hostels, homeless units and social work departments are littered with the souls of those whom our country betrayed. When you’re estranged from your family, homeless and skint, there’s one inevitable outcome.
That vulnerability is the point of this tale.
A male has no place in a female jail, regardless of whether he is trans identifying or otherwise. He’s always going to be a man. Nothing can change that.
Women in a women’s prison are entitled legally and morally to serve their sentence free of unnecessary retraumatisation. That aim of rehabilitation, deserved by each female, is jeopardised as soon as a male prisoner enters, a reminder of all that brought one down, violated and in trauma.
Middle class women who have not the first notion of the lives lived by the vast majority of Scottish women lost the right to legislate for and claim to protect them; I can’t now name even one woman in my social circle who believes that Scotland’s MPs and MSPs represent their interests. ‘Out of touch’ is the common description.
Overwhelming is the sense of disgrace when Scotland’s women see their rights surrendered to the feelings of men? Not for the first time, but surely now for the last. #WomenWontWheesht. Not now. Not ever.