A trans offender’s mother who is at the centre of a fresh jail controversy claims that her daughter’s criminal behaviour is the consequence of years of mistreatment.
Harryetta Thompson, according to Sharon Macklin, has experienced ongoing victimisation throughout a difficult existence and struggles with both mental and physical health issues.
The Daily Record reported yesterday on how 33-year-old Thompson was placed in segregation at Cornton Vale, Scotland’s only all-female prison when word of her prior sex offences circulated.
Prior to a fellow prisoner overhearing a phone conversation in which Harryetta indicated a 2016 conviction at Stranraer Sheriff Court for grooming two boys, Harryetta had been permitted to mingle with the general population of the jail.
Care worker Sharon, who now resides in Hereford, claimed that her daughter had to put up with strangers laughing and staring at her for her entire life.
“In many cases, Harryetta will make bad choices and when she feels threatened she can respond impulsively, sometimes using sexualised gestures.
“She can verbalise things and behave in a way that’s crude and unacceptable and it can be heartbreaking to see how she deals with some situations, as she can often be irrational and delusional.
“I have to accept that there are consequences for her actions, for other people and for herself but she never sets out to cause trouble. I constantly hope she finds a way of sorting things out.
“When she says these terrible things and makes a scene it’s all a coping mechanism”, she said.
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Adding, “I’ve gone out for a cup of tea with her and I’ve seen people laughing and sneering and calling her a freak.”
The current Scottish system, according to Sharon, prevents the creation of a facility that would be appropriate for her daughter and other volatile trans offenders. She thinks there is a compelling argument in favour of a “halfway house” setting for trans criminals.
“I don’t think she would survive in a male prison. It would be a disaster and it would be wrong to put her there. Something terrible would happen to her.
“But I also, of course, do understand why many people would object to her being held in a women’s jail.
“I do believe there should be moves to develop a different type of facility, where trans prisoners can live alongside people who might understand them”, she said.
Harryetta, according to Sharon, suffered from gender dysphoria at a young age and abruptly decided to live as a woman in her late teens, or about 15 years ago.
She said: “She bagged up her clothes and took them to a charity shop and bought herself new clothes.
“By this time she was already having a lot of trouble fitting in”.
Sharon claimed that her daughter had started hormone therapy several years prior and had been denied the entire physical metamorphosis she so desperately desired, leaving her “in limbo.”
The information regarding Harryetta Thompson’s case came to light after a major controversy surrounding the transfer of trans prisoner and double rapist Isla Bryson to Cornton Vale erupted.
The decision to transfer transgender inmate Tiffany Scott to a women’s jail was also overturned.
The Scottish Prison Service is currently evaluating both its policy on transgender convicts and each inmate’s status on an individual basis. New transgender inmates will reportedly be housed in prisons that correspond to their gender at birth.