A dozen violent male prisoners in Scotland who identify as transgender have been relocated to women’s prisons over the past 18 months, according to a review by corrections officials in the United Kingdom.
The Times of London reported that, through an official request from the Scottish Prison Service for transparency, the agency admitted that it had indeed moved men convicted of violent crimes — including sex crimes — into close quarters facilities with women. If that news isn’t shocking enough, 11 out of 12 of the men who were moved in with women had not even undergone procedures to “transition.”
They had simply identified as the opposite sex and were cleared to bunk with physiologically smaller and less physically imposing women.
Thankfully, the revelation brought on by opponents of having the state force women to share living spaces with convicted and dangerous men might lead to some reforms. That’s what Dr. Kate Coleman, the director of a group called Keep Prisons Single Sex, hopes.
“The evidence clearly indicates that where prisoners of the male sex, no matter how they identify, are held in women’s prisons, women in prison are negatively impacted,” Coleman told the Times. “I trust that the SPS will pay heed to that fact.”
The SPS’ experiment with housing men who identify as transgender in women’s prisons began in 2014.
One former governor of the Cornton Vale prison for women in Sterling told the Times that prison officials understand the stakes for women who are confined to facilities, such as the one she oversaw.
“My experience is that it is always an issue to have trans women in with female prisoners and you have to think beyond the obvious which is physical or sexual threat, which is sometimes an issue, to the very fact of the presence of male-bodied prisoners among vulnerable women causes them distress and consternation,” Rhona Hotchkiss said.
The SPS was less than transparent with regard to speaking about the specifics of just how many men are currently an added stressor for women serving time after having been convicted of crimes in Scotland.
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A spokesperson for the prison system offered a vague statement that risks are taken into account before men are sent to share spaces with women.
“All cases are treated on an individual basis and are risk-assessed through a multi-disciplinary case conference, transgender case conference supported by transgender policy,” the spokesperson said. “Any decisions about the location of transgender prisoners are only made after an individual risk assessment has taken place. This process considers the risks potentially presented both to and by the individuals.”
“We take very seriously our duty of care towards all in our custody. We also undertake regular prison surveys, which includes a focus on the experience and needs of the people in our care — this is an important part of the SPS’ evidence base for policy,” the SPS official concluded.
The official did not disclose if any incidents have occurred since men were given the option of serving time with women.
Women tend to be the victims any time the “transgender” movement acquires more “rights.” Despite being convicted of crimes, women, even in prison, deserve safety from violence or sexual assault at the hands of men who are either confused or taking advantage of the loopholes being offered by a culture that has lost its way.
Women, just like men, must navigate hazards to both physical and mental health once sent to prison if they are to ever re-enter society. They don’t deserve to have the added stress of being surrounded by potentially predatory men.
When they serve their sentences, they deserve the dignity to walk out free, and they’re owed as much protection as possible by prison officials. Perhaps the light shed on this issue by advocates for common sense will force the SPS and the Scottish government to bend to common sense.
Men, especially those convicted of sex crimes, have no place in women’s prisons. Rather than empower them to potentially behave as big fish in small ponds, prison officials need to ensure these people remain in men’s prisons, which is where they belong.