Sex offender Gordon Pike helped set prison trans rules by Andrew Gilligan The Sunday Times 02.12.18

The original article is here.

An official who agreed a policy allowing male-bodied sex offenders into women’s prisons was a sex offender who hoarded 22,000 indecent pictures of children.

Gordon Pike, a senior official of the Scottish Prison Service, was one of those responsible for its “gender identity and gender reassignment policy”, documents seen by The Sunday Times show. The policy is significantly more liberal than England’s, stating that transgender prisoners must normally be housed according to the “social gender” with which they self-identify, “whether or not” they have legally changed it.

Two years after approving the policy, Pike, 57, was arrested at prison service headquarters in Edinburgh. Searching his home, police found 45 discs containing 22,100 indecent images of children, including 500 of “penetrative sexual activity” with minors. He was convicted of possession of sexual images of children in a trial ending last year and remains on the sex offenders’ register.

The prison policy, which also covers healthcare, is being used by a transgender sex offender and murderer, Paris Green, to make a 900-mile round trip from her Edinburgh prison to Sussex for private gender reassignment surgery, funded by taxpayers.

Green is serving life after she and two accomplices sexually assaulted a man with a rolling pin, tied him up, tortured him and beat him to death.

Born Peter Laing, Green identified as a woman in 2011, and was convicted two years later. Initially she was sent to a women’s jail but was moved back to a men’s wing after making advances to female prisoners.

Her surgery will be carried out at the private Nuffield hospital in Brighton, since there are no NHS facilities for it in Scotland. It will cost the NHS about £20,000, with the prison service facing a bill of up to £40,000 for transport and guarding during Green’s two-week stay.

The disclosure comes as new figures show there are 139 transgender prisoners in England and Wales, of whom 114 identify as female. Twenty-two, or 16%, were born male but are housed in women’s prisons. There are 18 transgender prisoners in Scotland, of whom 12, or two-thirds, were housed in or seeking transfers to women’s prisons.

Some 48% of transgender prisoners are sex offenders, the Ministry of Justice said in a freedom of information answer earlier this year, compared with less than 20% of the prison population as a whole.

They include Karen White, born Stephen Wood, a double rapist who was sent to New Hall women’s jail last year, where she assaulted two female prisoners. She was returned to a male jail after the assaults.

Jessica Winfield, born Martin Ponting, another double rapist put in a women’s prison, was reportedly segregated after she made advances to other inmates.

Gender surgeons and prison governors have said that some male-born sex offenders are transitioning in order to gain access to women prisoners, or to appear less dangerous in the hope of earlier parole.

Ministry of Justice figures show the number of women in prison for sex offences has risen by 40% in three years, from 93 in 2015 to 130 this year. The figures do not distinguish between biological women and trans women.

Women’s campaigners said it was highly likely that much of the increase was accounted for by male-born transgender sex offenders such as White and Winfield, who are counted as female in the statistics.

Nicola Williams, of Fair Play for Women, which has begun a parliamentary petition to change the policy, said: “These latest disclosures are deeply disturbing. MPs should be asking why the prison system is turning a blind eye to the abuse of women in its care.”

In December 2016, Pike pleaded guilty at Paisley sheriff court to possessing the images over a 10-year period. He avoided jail after claiming he was given the material by an unidentified caller to the LGBT Centre in Glasgow, where he was co-chairman. He said he had not viewed the images, though he knew what they were. He was sentenced to community punishment.

As “trade union side secretary” of the prison service, Pike was one of seven prison service officials named in prison documents as responsible for and then signing off the trans policy, which was published in 2014.

It states that “a male-to-female person in custody living permanently as a woman without genital surgery should be allocated to a female establishment. She should not be automatically regarded as posing a high sexual offence risk to other people in custody.”