Scottish plans to let violent trans women convicts into female jails

Scottish plans to let violent trans women convicts into female jails to help prepare them for release are likened to using prisons as ‘laboratories for experiment’ by furious critics

  • Controversial guidance is part of new prison policy taking effect in February

Prison chiefs say transgender criminals should serve time in female jails to help prepare for life as women on release, according to a new report.

Even trans inmates deemed too dangerous to be held in a women’s jail should be allowed the chance to mingle with female prisoners, in a move branded an ‘outrage’ by feminist campaigners.

The controversial guidance forms part of a new Scottish Prison Service (SPS) policy that comes into effect in February.

The Equality and Human Rights Impact Assessment report says: ‘Transgender people should be supported to work towards being accommodated in an estate that aligns with their affirmed gender so that, on release, they have had the opportunity to live with those who share their affirmed gender.’

High-risk offenders who cannot be offered a permanent place in a female jail due to the threat they pose could instead be offered visitation rights to allow them to mix with female inmates.

In a move branded an outrage by female campaigners, even trans criminals deemed too dangerous to be held in a women’s jail should be allowed to mingle with female prisoners to help prepare them for release, a new report says

Isla Bryson, known as Adam Graham until 2020, was convicted of raping two women before her transition. He was initially sent to an all-female prison but was moved to a male wing of another prison after it sparked an uproar

The report states: ‘While it may be necessary to accommodate transgender individuals in a prison which does not align with their affirmed gender, there may be other ways of supporting their gender identity. For example, through access to work parties, activities or programmes with others of their gender identity.’

But a string of critics have slammed SPS chiefs for putting the safety of vulnerable women at risk.

READ MORE: Transgender women held in female jails are being moved to male prisons under new retrospective ban following Isla Bryson scandal

Kate Coleman, of campaign group Keep Prisons Single Sex, said: ‘I am horrified at the suggestion male prisoners who even the SPS deem to be unsafe for the female estate should nevertheless be able to access activities in women’s prisons.

‘This is an outrage. I am disgusted that this policy, as inadequate to ensure the safety of women as it is, appears to be hiding a reality that is far more sinister in the danger that it presents to female offenders.’

Former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill, depute leader of the Alba Party, said: ‘Prisons are places for safe custody not laboratories for experiment.

‘It’s the state’s duty to keep vulnerable women who have offended safe, even though denied liberty. To endanger them to pursue gender ideology is grotesque. The SPS and Scottish Government have not just lost the plot but are acting in a manner that endangers those they are obliged to protect.’

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Russell Findlay said: ‘The new policy effectively permits male sex offenders access to women’s prisons.

‘In line with the SNP’s dangerous gender self-ID law, the rights of male-bodied sex criminals who say they are female are deemed more important than vulnerable women in custody.’

Andrew Miller, also known as Amy George was granted leave to appeal a 28-year extended sentence after he dressed up as a woman and abducted a school girl to rape her at his home

The report concedes that female inmates can be put at risk by being confined alongside male-bodied convicts.

It says: ‘There exists concern the policy may be abused by individuals claiming to be transgender to gain access to women to commit violence and harm.’ But it then plays down the risk by stating that predatory and violent behaviour towards women in prison ‘also came from other women’ and it is ‘stigmatising to suggest that only transgender women are a threat’.

An SPS spokesman said: ‘Our new policy supports the wellbeing of all people in prison.

‘We will carefully consider a range of factors, including offending history, with a particular focus on violence against women and girls, when assessing risk.

‘No transgender women, with a history of violence against women and girls, will be placed in the female estate.’

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