Transgender women guilty of violent crimes to be banned from female prisons

Transgender women convicted of violent crimes will be banned from female prisons in England and Wales from today.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab says measures announced in October affecting transwomen with male genitalia and transwomen who have committed sexual offences, will be extended to include transwomen convicted of violent offences.

Crimes covered by the ban include murder, attempted murder, assault with intent to cause serious harm or injury, harming a child, and endangering life and harassment.

Mr Raab said: "Safety has to come first in our prisons, and this new policy sets out a clear, common-sense approach to the housing of transgender prisoners."

Exemptions will only be made in exceptional cases signed off by ministers, according to the Ministry of Justice.

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.”

The extra measure follows controversy in Scotland about the decision to send 31-year-old Isla Bryson to a female prison after he was convicted of rape before identifying as a woman.

The Scottish government reversed the move following outcry from the public and politicians.

There are around 230 transgender inmates in England and Wales, with over 90 percent of transwomen housed in male prisons.