Trans women convicted of murder and sex crimes will be banned from female prisons

27 February 2023, 19:48 | Updated: 27 February 2023, 19:52

Transgender women convicted of violent crimes will be barred from women's prisons
Transgender women convicted of violent crimes will be barred from women's prisons. Picture: Handout/Getty

By Kit Heren

Trans women who have committed murder or sex offences will be blocked from serving their sentences in women's prisons under new rules.

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Trans women who have male genitalia or have committed sexual offences were already banned from female prisons, in legislation that will take effect this week.

Now Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said that he has updated the policy to include all trans women convicted of violent offences in the ban.

It comes after the controversy in Scotland concerning Isla Bryson, a transgender woman convicted of raping two women who was taken to Cornton Vale - Scotland's only all-female facility - to be held in segregation to await sentencing after being found guilty in January.

Isla Bryson, 31, formerly known as Adam Graham, has been found guilty of rape
Isla Bryson, 31, was found guilty of rape earlier this year. Picture: Alamy

Following an outcry from the public and politicians, Bryson was moved to a men's prison within days. Scottish Justice Secretary Keith Brown commissioned an urgent review.

Mr Raab tweeted: "Tomorrow our new transgender prisoner policy comes into force - a strengthened, common-sense framework that will improve safety for prisoners across England and Wales.

"As we have already promised, transgender women who have male genitalia or have committed sexual offences will no longer be held in women's prisons - unless in the most exceptional cases, requiring explicit ministerial approval.

"And as of tomorrow we have gone one step further - changing our guidance so that transgender women convicted of violent offences will also no longer be held in mainstream women's prisons."

Caller scared about trans woman in prison despite being with Rose West

Mr Raab was asked about the UK Government's position on convicted trans women on Sky News.

He said the reason the policy was coming into force on Monday, having been announced four months ago, was because it had taken "time to do it very carefully and assiduously".

But he denied it was in reaction to Bryson's case in Scotland.

Trans woman brands Isla Bryson an 'abhorrent, horrible creature'

Mr Raab, speaking to the Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, said the UK Government wanted to have a "liberal, sensitive, tolerant approach to the LGBT community as a whole and in particular the trans community", who he said "suffer a lot in this country" with mental health and bullying.

Read more: 'This rapist is neither legally or biologically female': Tom Swarbrick responds to trans woman placed in female prison

Read more: Transgender woman found guilty of raping two women when she was a man

Explaining the Ministry of Justice position on transgender women in female prisons, he said: "We are very clear that from next week we will introduce new rules which means that any trans offender with their male genitalia intact or who have been convicted of a sexual offence and, adding to that, if they have been convicted of a violent offence, they will not be allowed into the female prison estate."

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