Men can be housed in women’s prisons, High Court rules

The High Court has ruled that men who identify as women are legally permitted to be housed with female prisoners in England and Wales.

A female prisoner, known as FDJ, had challenged a Ministry of Justice policy which allows women’s prisons to house men who wish to “permanently” live as if they were the opposite sex, irrespective of whether they have taken any medical or legal steps.

Although the judges conceded that it can have a “significant” psychological impact on female prisoners, they determined that the policy is lawful and that a specialist panel should decide the placement of male inmates on a “case by case” basis.

‘Statistically greater risk’

FDJ said she was sexually assaulted in 2017 by a man, convicted for sex offences, who identified as a woman. The claimant’s lawyers argued that the policy places female prisoners at risk.

Lord Justice Holroyd accepted that “the unconditional introduction of a transgender woman into the general population of a women’s prison carries a statistically greater risk of sexual assault upon non-transgender prisoners”, but claimed this does not take into account the required risk assessment.

FDJ said she was “disappointed” by the ruling, saying that men “who have a history of violence and sexual offending against women should not be in a situation where they can put our safety at risk”.

a statistically greater risk of sexual assault upon non-transgender prisoners

Inflicting trauma

Writing in The Mail on Sunday, Helen Joyce, author of ‘Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality’, commented: “What we are facing is a fundamental redefinition of what it means for anyone to be a man or woman – the supplanting of biology and a total rewrite of society’s rules, with far-reaching consequences.”

the supplanting of biology

She added: “Most women in prison have been victims of male violence, some from childhood. Why are we retraumatising them?”

Joyce said that her opposition to ‘self-identification’ is based on “a scientific fact: that biological sex has an objective basis”.


Last year, former Cabinet Minister Rory Stewart revealed that there were “situations of male prisoners self-identifying as females then raping staff in prison” during his time overseeing prisons in 2018 and 2019.

His comments were understood to be the first official acknowledgement of men claiming to be women assaulting staff in jails.

Also see:

Male prisoners self-identifying as trans for ‘perks’

Scots trans Bill endangers female prisoners, ex-governors warn

‘Trans’ prisoner who sexually assaulted women in female prison sentenced to life

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