Male prisoners who claim to be women will continue to be eligible for admission or transfer to a women’s prison unless they have a record of “violence against a female”, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has announced.
Earlier this year, the SPS ordered an assessment of its existing policy following an outcry when convicted rapist Adam Graham was initially placed in a segregated unit in a women’s prison.
The Service has been slammed for throwing vulnerable female inmates “under a bus” with its updated policy.
From February 2024, men who have perpetrated violence against a woman “that results in physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering” will be barred from a women-only prison.
However, the restriction may be waived if there is believed to be “compelling evidence that they do not present an unacceptable risk of harm to those in the women’s prison”.
If a man holds a Gender Recognition Certificate he can be imprisoned in line with his “sex at birth, if it is considered necessary to support people’s safety and wellbeing”.
Writing in The Times, criminologist Dr Kath Murray said the revised policy throws female inmates who have been victims of male violence “under a bus”.
She said that ‘the waiver’ “still allows men convicted of violence against women to be placed in women’s prisons” with “no reference to women’s trauma and overlooks their need for privacy and dignity”.
Dr Murray explained: “All available evidence shows that offending behaviour tracks sex, not gender identity. In other words, the risk of offending is no lower for men with trans identities.”
She also said: “Telling female prisoners that men are really women, based on nothing more than a person’s unfalsifiable belief, is institutional gaslighting.”