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by Kirsteen Paterson
30 January 2023
Transfers of violent transgender prisoners paused amidst review

Justice Secretary Keith Brown announced the measure

Transfers of violent transgender prisoners paused amidst review

Transgender prisoners with a history of violence against women will not be placed in female-only jails as an "urgent review" is undertaken, Keith Brown has announced.

The justice secretary has announced a "pause" on the practice amidst outcry over the case of violent rapist Isla Bryson, who was initially remanded to Cornton Vale.

Bryson, who was known as Adam Graham at the time of offending, was later transferred to a men's facility, but further concerns were raised by the news that violent prisoner Tiffany Scott, formerly known as Andrew Burns, had been approved for a transfer to the female estate.

A wider review by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) into its transgender policy is underway.

On Sunday, Brown announced that no transgender inmate with a history of violence against women will be moved from a men's jail to a women's jail until the review ends.

The rule also applies to newly-convicted or remanded individuals.

Brown said the issue was "highly emotive" and public concern is "understandable". He went on: "As the First Minister pointed out last week, we must not allow any suggestion to take root that trans women pose and inherent threat to women.

"Predatory men are the risk to women. However, as with any group in society, a small number of trans women will offend and be sent to prison."

Any cases with exceptional circumstances will be subject to ministerial approval.

The announcement comes days after Brown said the SPS is "far more expert in assessing and dealing with" the risk posed by individual prisoners than MSPs are.

The SPS confirmed the arrangements, saying these will "be progressed in line with our human rights obligations" and the ongoing policy review "will be independently assessed by experts in women affected by trauma and violence".

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