Several peers have said that the current law on housing men who identify as women in female prisons for sex offences must change.
Peers from across the political spectrum wrote to a national newspaper expressing serious concerns at “males convicted of serious violent and sexual offences who have subsequently transferred to the female prison estate”.
The letter came as the House of Lords debated an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which called for male sex offenders who identify as female to be housed in male prisons. The amendment was not put to a vote.
‘Law must change’
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, the Peers warned that the convicts “have obtained gender recognition certificates while in prison and been housed in women’s prisons. No surgery or medical treatment is needed to obtain this certificate”.
Referring to the recent High Court ruling that said placing men in women’s prisons was lawful, the peers stressed that “the law must change”.
They argued that “unchanged biological sex must take precedence over a gender recognition certificate” for those convicted of sexual or other violent offences.
Speaking during the debate, signatory Lord Blencathra of Penrith said the Ministry of Justice was “not acting decently nor doing its duty to protect biological-sex women”.
He added that the approach meant “the female prison estate is currently run as a mixed-sex institution”.
He was joined by fellow signatory Baroness Fox of Buckley, who said: “There really is no point in the Government in issuing strategies and grand words about violence against girls and women if the same Government has no qualms about letting rapists share the same confined living quarters as vulnerable women in prison”.