Scotland confirms trans woman who raped two women before sex change will not go to women’s prison

Nicola Sturgeon. – Andy Buchanan/PA Wire/dpa

A transgender woman convicted of raping two women before changing sex will not serve the sentence inside a women’s prison, Scotland’s chief minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

«It would be inappropriate to give details of where any prisoner is incarcerated, but given understandable public and parliamentary concern, I can confirm that she will not be incarcerated in Cornton Vale women’s prison,» Sturgeon has said, referring to the jail to which she was moved after being convicted on Tuesday.

Isla Bryson, whose sentencing will be known in February, transitioned from male to female while awaiting trial for two cases of raping two women, one in 2016 and one in 2019, when she still answered to the name Adam Graham. During the court proceedings, he claimed he learned he was transgender at age four, but it wasn’t until he was 29, two years ago, that he decided to get hormones and undergo surgeries.

However, his ex-wife told the ‘Daily Mail’ that the sex change was nothing more than a «sham» to deceive the authorities, a «ploy» to avoid ending up in prison surrounded by «big, scary men» and thus obtaining «a much more bearable sentence».

Where Bryson is to serve her sentence has been hotly debated even before a court found her guilty on Tuesday, with various groups in society and political groups highlighting the safety risks to other women if she was housed at Cornton Vale Prison, the only women-only prison in Scotland, since the rape charges were brought.

Her case was raised at Holyrood — the Scottish Parliament — by Conservative leader Douglas Ross, who said Bryson is a «beast» who only initiated her sex change after the police allegations.

Labor has also expressed itself along the same lines. Yvette Cooper MP has told the BBC that Bryson was a «dangerous rapist» who should not be in a women’s prison. «If someone is a danger to women and has committed crimes against women, they shouldn’t be in a women’s prison,» she said.

The controversy comes at a time when the British government overturned legislation passed a month ago by the British Parliament that sought to streamline the process of sex change as contrary to the laws of Equality.

Sturgeon, who stressed that what defines this case is that it is a case of a rapist and not a trans person, has asked «not to suggest» even «in the most veiled way» that this group can pose a threat to women.

«Predatory men, as it has always been, are the risk for women. As with any group in society, a small number of trans people offend and, when it comes to sexual offenses, public concern is understandable,» he acknowledged.