Male prisoners self-identifying as women to be barred from female jails

The majority of male prisoners who claim to be women will no longer be allowed to be placed in female jails, under new rules introduced in England and Wales.

Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab announced that “transgender offenders who have committed sexual or violent crimes or retain male genitalia will not serve their sentence in a women’s prison, unless explicitly approved at the highest level”.

Previously, any male prisoner claiming to be a woman could be placed in a women’s jail on the basis of a risk assessment.

‘Real risk’

Raab stated: “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.”

Dr Kate Coleman, Director of campaign group Keep Prisons Single Sex, said the policy “reflects the real and demonstrated risk to women in prison when male offenders are housed with them.

“This is a positive step in the right direction and I hope that we will see similar movement throughout the criminal justice system.”

According to a Ministry of Justice report, there were six men who self-identified as women in female jails as of 31 March 2022.


Last month, the Scottish Prison Service announced that male prisoners who claim to be women will be initially placed in a men’s jail pending a long-term assessment.

Until the prison service receives findings from its 2019 review, no man in jail with a record of violence against women will be transferred to a female prison, and only in “exceptional circumstances” could a new convict with such history be placed in a women’s jail with ministerial approval.

Scottish Prison Service guidance previously stated that “accommodation provided must be the one that best suits the person in custody’s needs and should reflect the gender in which the person in custody is currently living”.

The change in practice followed an outcry when convicted rapist Adam Graham was initially placed in a segregated unit in a women’s prison.


In 2018, a male prisoner who committed four sexual assaults while in an all-female prison in West Yorkshire was moved to a prison for men and sentenced to life.

The man, known as Karen White, had been on remand for stabbing a woman in August 2017 and was initially placed in a women’s jail because he had told prison authorities he ‘identified as a woman’.

Also see:


Serial male sex offender sentenced to women’s prison

Police Scotland quits Stonewall’s pro-LGBT scheme

Police Scotland defy gender self-ID push by recognising suspect as a man

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