The number of male prisoners living as women has risen significantly, causing concern that some men are using a transsexual policy in order to obtain privileges.
A Government review will investigate the 2011 ‘Care and Management of Transsexual Prisoners Policy’, which allows prisoners to say they are transsexual without being medically diagnosed.
Glyn Travis, press officer for the union representing prison officers, said that some prisoners are “looking at it as a soft option for prison life”.
HM Prison Service estimates that up to 100 prisoners now refer to themselves as transsexual.
By declaring that they are transsexual, prisoners have the right to ask to wear women’s clothing, be searched by female prison officers and use private washing facilities.
In addition, there is a perception that transsexual inmates have a higher chance of achieving parole.
According to The Sunday Times, the increase in prisoners claiming to be transsexual has led to management and disciplinary problems for prison governors and staff.
Cases have been linked to incidents of inappropriate behaviour, including aggression and ‘oversexualised’ conduct.
A spokesman from HM Prison Service told The Sunday Times that “the policy is now under review.”
Conservative MP Nick de Bois welcomed the investigation and said: “Self-certification is at risk of abuse.”