Jacinta released from male prison
A TRANSGENDER prisoner has been released from a male jail six months after a drug-fuelled offending spree which ended on the Gold Coast.
Jacinta Mason, 37, pleaded guilty in the Southport Magistrates Court on Thursday to a slew of property, drugs and bail offences committed over an eight-month period.
The court was told Mason had little recollection of offending, which spanned from September 2017 to April this year, having been under the influence of drugs.
Mason’s spree of 21 offences ended when caught stealing biscuits from the Queensland Country Women’s Association hall at Mermaid Beach on April 24.
“She was on drugs at the time and she says she was happy to be arrested,” said Legal Aid defence lawyer Vered Turner, who added that Mason had worked for the first time in about a decade while behind bars.
However, Ms Turner said Mason’s time in custody at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre at Wacol was also difficult, being a pre-operation transgender woman in a male prison.
Magistrate Louise Shepherd said she took this into account in sentencing.
“You are a pre-op transgender woman and I imagine that would bring many difficulties and stresses in your life,” Ms Shepherd said.
“In the six months in custody you have done that time in a male prison, and I assume that brought its own difficulties for you and I take that into account.”
Mason was given an 18month prison sentence but allowed parole on Thursday, and ordered to pay about $800 in restitution.
Australian Transgender Support Association Queensland president Gina Mather said pre-operation transgender women always went to male prisons.
“You go to jail (according to) the genitalia between your legs,” Ms Mather said.
“We have girls in prison now and even though they might look like Madonna they still have the genitalia and they still have to go to the male prison.
“We can’t change that, what we have done is try to isolate them in protective custody.”
Ms Mather said a lot of progress had been made by Queensland Correctional Services in recent years but called for separate areas inside men’s prisons so transgender women could be part of the general population during the day and be safe at night.
She said isolating transgender women from the general prison population could feel like further punishment.
“We would like the girls to have a small wing of their own. It would be nice to have an area where they can access the mainstream population while having the safety of their own area.”
A judge said Jacinta Mason spending six months in a male prison would have brought “many difficulties and stresses in your life”.