Barbie Kardashian as a threat to staff but not inmates
Gearóid Ó Loingsigh
30 April 2023
Limerick Wonen's Prison
The Irish Prison Service announced that the violent offender Gabrielle Alejandro Gentile, a.k.a Barbie Kardashian is to be transferred out of Limerick Women’s Prison. The reasons given are that he represents a threat to safety and well-being of female members of staff. When he was first sent there, the outcry from women, particularly inmates fell on deaf ears.
On April 16th the Sunday World announced that the state had decided to transfer him due to fears of attacks on staff.(1) No details were given, and no information was given as to where he was going to be sent. He was initially sent to the female estate and theoretically only the courts can change the estate, whereas the Irish Prison Service can choose the location within the female estate. There is no secure unit as such for violent female offenders.
It was later revealed what the nature of the fear of attacks on staff was. Unsurprisingly, given his background and the crimes he was convicted for and his stated hatred of women, Gentile was under investigation for threats made to rape female prison staff.(2) So, now he is to be moved because he represents a threat to staff, when in fact he should never have been in a female prison, ever because a) he is a man, b) he represents a clear threat to women. Whilst he and the other sex offenders held in Limerick Prison are not allowed mix with the women, they can and so shout out abuse to the female inmates, which amounts to a form of, if not torture, at the very least ill-treatment by the state. Gentile does not violate anyone’s Human Rights. Only states are guarantors of Human Rights and only states have an onus to not ill-treat prisoners. Gentile does commit a crime when he abuses women, but the responsibility for the violation of the female inmates’ rights lies with the state that places men in women’s prisons. There are no competing rights here. He has no right to be in a women’s prison and his abuse lies at the door of the state.
The state has consistently and systematically ignored the plight of women in Irish society since the foundation of the state. Women had to fight for equality in employment, access to contraception, abortion services, divorce and a host of other issues. In relation to prisoners the situation is not any different. In 2021 the Inspector of Prisons carried out a visit to Limerick Prison and issued a report. There is a part of it that stands out to an even greater degree now, in the light of Gentile being investigated for threats to rape staff.
In its report the Inspector included a complaint from the sex offenders in the female estate about searches.
The women [sic – Trans Identified Males] raised concerns that when searches were being conducted a male officer was present in addition to a female officer. International best practice indicates that transgender prisoners should be given a choice regarding the gender of the person conducting a search. The search should be conducted by a person of the appropriate gender, with minimum interference.(3)At the time the Inspector made no attempt to balance this with a comment from staff, the management at the prison or the Irish Prison Service. One of the men was convicted of ten counts of sexual assault and one count of abuse of a minor and the Inspector seemed to be of the view that these men should be left alone with only female staff. It is bizarre. Now, it stands out for the despicable dereliction of duty to adequately report on problems within the prison system. At no point did the Inspector even hint at staff concerns or possible security issues. It took the “complaint” i.e. the attempt to persuade the state to leave female staff alone with dangerous violent male offenders not only at face value, but validated it. The Inspector should withdraw that section of the report and apologise.
It is telling that this issue has only been covered by the Red Tops, like the Sunday World, Irish Mirror and right-wing websites such as Gript. That is a stark condemnation of so-called liberal media such as the Irish Times and what passes for the left. To be clear: People Before Profit and its T.Ds advocated housing violent male offenders alongside women and the Irish media has largely been acquiescent in that process. Women have been abandoned. Hopefully this move, in relation to Gentile, will result in prison staff refusing to accept men in the women’s estate in order to protect female staff and prisoners.
(1) The Sunday World (16/04/2023) 'VERY DANGEROUS' | Barbie Kardashian to be moved from Limerick Prison over fears of attack on staff. Neasa Cumiskey. https://www.sundayworld.com/crime/irish-crime/barbie-kardashian-to-be-moved-from-limerick-prison-over-fears-of-attack-on-staff/a659395218.html
(2) The Irish Mirror (27/04/2023) Barbie Kardashian under Garda investigation for allegedly threatening to rape female prison officers. Michael O’ Toole. https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/crime/barbie-kardashian-under-garda-investigation-29820564
(3) OIP (2021) ‘Covid-19
Thematic Inspection of Limerick Prison’, 6-7 April 2021, Ireland, p.34