Scotland suspends transfers of transgender prisoners to women’s prisons

Trans rights rally in Edinburgh – Jane Barlow/PA Wire/dpa

The Scottish Government’s Justice Advisor, Keith Brown, has announced the suspension of transfers of transgender prisoners to women’s prisons pending a review being carried out by the Scottish Prison Service to ensure their safety.

The measure implies that no transgender convict with a history of violence against women will be sent to a female prison or to a female section of a male prison.

«I understand that the issue of a trans woman convicted of violent or sexual offenses is a very sensitive issue and that there is understandable public concern,» Brown said, as reported by ‘The Scotsman’ newspaper.

Brown recalled that the chief minister, Nicolas Sturgeon, has stressed that «we must not allow the insinuation that trans women themselves pose a threat to women».

«Predatory men are a danger to women. However, as with any other group in society, a small number of trans women can commit crimes and be sentenced to prison. That is why it is important that these measures provide guarantees for the Prison Service to manage trans people and ensure the safety of all prisoners,» he argued. Brown has also advocated to always keep in mind the victims of these cases of violence.

The councilor pointed out that this measure is not related to the new Gender Recognition Reform Act, a bill passed by the Scottish Parliament to speed up the process of sex change, which was later annulled by the British Government, causing a conflict of competences.

It is also related to the controversy over the case of a transgender woman, Isla Bryson, convicted of the rape of two women before changing her sex – she was previously Adam Graham – and who was transferred to a women’s prison. After the scandal, she was taken back to a men’s prison.

In another controversial case, Tiffany Scott harassed a 13-year-old girl when he was still Andrew Burns and had requested a transfer to a women’s prison. ‘The Daily Record’ has claimed that the application had been approved after an initial refusal.