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UK to prevent inmates with male genitalia from being held in women’s prisons

Changes are to be made by the UK prison and probation service regarding the placement of male prisoners who ‘identify’ as women in female prisons. 

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab, announced the changes which relate to “transgender women with male genitalia, or those who have been convicted of a sexual offence”, stating that such individuals “should no longer be held in the general women’s estate”

In a press release the Ministry of Justice and Prison and Probation service said this will “create a strong presumption, but allow for exemptions to be considered by Ministers on a case-by-case basis – though only the most truly exceptional cases will be considered.”

A new policy framework is to be published shortly in which guidelines will be set out detailing how the new policy is to be implemented by the Prison and Probation Service.

“The safety of all prisoners is paramount. These changes will ensure a sensitive and common-sense approach to meeting the needs of women in custody, while we continue to ensure that transgender prisoners are appropriately supported in whichever estate they are located in.”

As a result of the new policy, “transgender women” who are in future sentenced to custody “and have male genitalia” or  “who have been convicted of sexual offences” will not serve their sentences in women’s prisons unless there are “exceptional circumstances”. 

In relation to biological males already being held in women’s prisons, it says that “there will be a thorough assessment of individuals – both the risks to them and any risks they pose to others – before any move is considered.”

“Transgender women who cannot be held safely in either the male or female estate can be held in a specialist unit.”, it said. 

Currently in the Republic of Ireland, a fully intact biological male who has a gender recognition certificate can be held in a women’s prison.

 

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