'The world hasn't gone mad': Justice minister defends trans women in female prisons

16 November 2021, 10:14

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar defended the decision to house trans women in female prisons.
Lord Wolfson of Tredegar defended the decision to house trans women in female prisons. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

A justice minister has defended the Government's decision to have trans women in female prisons, hitting back against claims "the world has gone mad".

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Tory frontbencher Lord Wolfson of Tredegar condemned the "gross mischaracterisation" from one critic suggesting that the administration had "no qualms about letting rapists share living quarters with women".

He said decisions were made on a case-by-case basis, taking account of risk, with trans prisoners with gender recognition certificates (GRCs) having also being housed in male prisons following assessment.

It came as the minister was responding to calls for prisoners with a GRC, convicted or suspected of violent or sexual offences, to be held in a prison matching their sex at birth.

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It was former Brexit Party MEP Baroness Fox of Buckley who labeled the decision to do otherwise "aghast".

She said: "When I talk to members of the public and tell them it is MoJ policy to allow prisoners of a male sex to be housed according to their self-declared gender identity in a women's prison... they are aghast.

"It falls under the category of 'Has the world gone mad?'"

However, Lord Wolfson said: "The world hasn't gone mad. It is a gross mischaracterisation of government policy to suggest that I or the Government have 'no qualms' about letting rapists share living quarters with women.

"The policy is that transgender prisoners are allocated to a prison matching their legal gender, but can be held in a prison opposite to their legal gender where otherwise they would present an unmanageable level of risk to other prisoners."

It comes after a High Court ruled that housing trans women in female prisons is lawful in July.

A female prisoner brought the legal bid against the Ministry of Justice after claiming to have been sexually assaulted in prison in 2017 by a trans woman with a gender recognition certificate.

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