New rules banning some transgender women from female prisons in England and Wales from today have been extended in scope, the justice secretary has said.
Dominic Raab had already announced in October that trans women who have male genitalia or have committed sexual offences would not be allowed in women’s prisons.
On Sunday he said a further measure of including transgender women convicted of violent offences as part of the ban would form part of the new policy.
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.”
It comes after the controversy regarding Isla Bryson, a 31-year-old transgender woman who was convicted of raping two women before transitioning from a man known as Adam Graham.
Image: Isla Bryson, 31, was convicted of raping two women while a man The rapist was convicted in January and was taken to Cornton Vale prison near Stirling – Scotland’s only all-female facility – to be held in segregation to await sentencing.
Following an outcry from the public and politicians, Bryson was moved to the male estate within days and an urgent review was commissioned by Scottish Justice Secretary Keith Brown.
Mr Raab told Sky News that 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”.
He denied it was in reaction to Bryson’s case in Scotland.
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Trans women ban for female prisons Speaking to the Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, Mr Raab said the 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.
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.”