Sturgeon climbdown as Scots prison service halts all movement of transgender prisoners | UK | News

Nicola Sturgeon has been pushed into a humiliating climbdown as the Scottish government announces an “urgent review” of all their transgender cases in prisons. The movement of all transgender prisoners will be paused until the review is completed, while no transgender prisoners with a history of violence against women will be placed in the women’s prison estate, Scottish Justice Secretary Keith Brown said.

A spotlight was thrown on the placement of transgender prisoners after the incarceration of Isla Bryson, a trans woman convicted of raping two women before changing gender, who was remanded in an all-female prison. She has since been moved from Cornton Vale women’s prison to a male wing at HMP Edinburgh.

Mr Brown said the “urgent lessons learned review” into the Bryson case will be completed by Friday. The prison service was already undertaking a wider review of its transgender policy, which will continue.

The rule regarding transgender prisoners with a history of violence against women also includes sexual violence, the Justice Secretary specified.

Any exceptional cases will require the approval of Scottish ministers. In a statement, Mr Brown made clear that he believed predatory men remained the “risk to women”.

Mr Brown said: “I understand that the issue of any trans woman being convicted of violent and sexual offences is a highly emotive subject and that the public concern is understandable. As the first minister pointed out last week, we must not allow any suggestion to take root that trans women pose an inherent threat to women.

“Predatory men are the risk to women. However, as with any group in society, a small number of trans women will offend and be sent to prison. Therefore, I hope that the measures…. will offer reassurance in the ongoing ability of the prison service to manage trans individuals and ensure the safety of all prisoners.”

A Scottish Prison Service spokesperson said: “We have commenced an urgent review of all transgender cases currently managed in our establishments. Our first concern is always, and remains, the health, safety, and wellbeing of all the people in our care, and that of our staff.

READ MORE: Sturgeon announces transgender rapist will not go to all-female prison [REVEAL]

The controversy over the jailing of Bryson comes after the UK government blocked the Scottish Parliament’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill in the first ever use of a Section 35 order since devolution of power to the Scottish parliament under the Scotland Act of 1998.

The justification for using the order was the argument that the new Bill, which was passed with 86 MSPs voting in favour and 39 against, conflicted with the Equality Act – although trans rights supporters have questioned whether this is accurate.

The Bill allows those aged 16 and over to self-identify as the opposite gender without needing a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and would allow people to apply for a gender certificate after living in their new gender for three months.

Having a Gender Recognition Certificate allows trans people to update their birth certificate, get married or form a civil partnership in their affirmed gender, update their marriage or civil partnership certificate, and have their affirmed gender on their death certificate when they die.


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