Female prison officers have been raped by men claiming to be women, a former Cabinet Minister has revealed.
Rory Stewart, who oversaw prisons from 2018-2019, said during his time there were “situations of male prisoners self-identifying as females then raping staff in prison”.
His comments are understood to be the first official acknowledgement of men claiming to be women assaulting staff in jails.
When asked if transgender-identifying men should be allowed to access women’s facilities, Stewart said: “if someone is biologically male, particularly in an environment like a prison, we shouldn’t allow that to happen.”
He added: “We have to be pretty cautious about how we think that happens in other spaces.
“The important thing is: I think the rights of women to feel safe trump the rights of somebody who’s biologically male to enter that space.”
According to some estimates, there could be up to 1,500 inmates identifying as transgender in England and Wales.
Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said it would be “appalling” if “people who have been convicted of sex offences or offences against women who then say they’re female then get access to woman’s prisons”.
She added: “It is an issue of safety for everybody.”
In 2017, a convicted paedophile and rapist was transferred to a women’s prison after he said he was transgender. Within days of the move, he sexually assaulted multiple women.
The man, known as Karen White, had been on remand for stabbing a man. He was placed in a women’s jail because he had told prison authorities he ‘identified as a woman’.
He was only moved to a men’s prison after he was charged with a rape committed in 2016. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment for the sexual assaults committed during his time in the all-female jail.