Scottish govt does U-turn on trans prisoners
The Scottish government announced on Sunday that it would provisionally stop sending some transgender prisoners to female prisons. Officials clarified that the measure would apply to those inmates who are known to have acted violently toward women in the past.
The change in stance came shortly after convicted rapist Isla Bryson was transferred to the country’s sole all-female prison last week, a move that elicited a public outcry. Before transitioning, Bryson was known as Adam Graham, who underwent hormone therapy and sought gender reassignment during the trial. The crimes were recorded as having being done by a male.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon eventually intervened and ordered the transgender prisoner removed from the female facility.
Announcing the decision, Scottish Justice Minister Keith Brown made a point of emphasizing that the assumption that “trans women pose an inherent threat to women” is fallacious.
“However, as with any group in society, a small number of trans women will offend,” he added.
Brown also revealed that the policies for housing transgender prisoners may undergo further changes as the Scottish authorities are conducting an urgent review of Bryson’s case. The assessment involves “experts in women affected by trauma and violence,” according to a Scottish Prison Service spokesperson.
The minister went on to acknowledge that the issue is “highly emotive,” adding that his thoughts remain with the “victims in these cases.”
The provisional ban on transfers applies both to transgender individuals already serving sentences and those newly convicted.
Brown stressed that the Scottish Prison Service’s “policies have in no way been changed or impacted” by the government of Scotland's controversial Gender Recognition Reform Bill, a piece of legislation that envisages, among other things, a self-identification process for changing gender and a lower minimum age.
However, the British government blocked the bill from proceeding to royal assent, citing “safety issues for women and children.”