Transgender women with male genitalia no longer to be held in mainstream women’s prisons

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"Safety has to come first in our prisons and this new policy sets out a clear, common-sense approach to the housing of transgender prisoners" - Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

New transgender prisoner policy comes into force.

Transgender women with male genitalia will no longer be able to be held in mainstream women’s prisons, under new measures coming into force today.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has also announced measures will go one step further than previously set out – by extending the rules to cover transgender women who have been convicted of violent offences.

The new guidance will apply regardless of whether transgender prisoners have a Gender Recognition Certificate, with exemptions only to be made in the most exceptional cases – and with the express approval of Ministers.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, said:

Safety has to come first in our prisons and this new policy sets out a clear, common-sense approach to the housing of transgender prisoners.

With these sensible new measures in place, transgender offenders who have committed sexual or violent crimes or retain male genitalia will not serve their sentence in a women’s prison, unless explicitly approved at the highest level.

Under the changes, transgender women who are sentenced to custody in the future will not be held in the general women’s estate if they retain male genitalia or have been convicted of a violent or sexual offence – unless in the most exceptional cases. Exemptions will be considered for those currently held in the women’s estate who are assessed as low-risk.

At present more than 90% of transgender women are housed in men’s prisons and most do not request a move to the women’s estate. There is currently no obligation to place a transgender prisoner according to their preference, and where individuals are held is based purely on risk.  However, the government has decided to take this further step as an additional measure to protect women.

Transgender women prisoners who cannot be safely housed in a men’s prison can be imprisoned in a specialist unit.

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