Rules barring some transgender women from female prisons in England and Wales are to come into force on Monday, the justice secretary has announced.
Dominic Raab had already announced in October that transgender women with male genitalia, or who had committed sexual offences, would not be allowed in women’s prisons.
Speaking on Sunday, Raab said this would take force from Monday, but would also cover transgender women who had been convicted of a violent offence.
“We want to have a liberal, sensitive, tolerant approach to the LGBT community as a whole and in particular the trans community who suffer a lot in this country and have high levels of challenges,” Raab told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme.
“Where you’ve got trans women offenders, the question is whether they go to the female prison estate – I think we need to be really clear about protecting the other female offenders.
“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.”
The issue of trans women in female prisons has been in the news since the case in Scotland, which runs its own prison policy, of Isla Bryson.
Bryson, a 31-year-old transgender woman was convicted of raping two women before transitioning. After the conviction, she was taken to an all-female facility to await sentencing.
She was held in segregation, but after an outcry Bryson was moved to a male site and a review was commissioned by the Scottish justice secretary, Keith Brown.
Raab said the new rules for prisons in England and Wales were not a response to Bryson’s case. “I introduced these changes a while ago and the reason they are coming into force on Monday is because of the time taken to do it very carefully and assiduously,” he said.
The new regime will apply whether or not the prisoner has a gender recognition certificate.