TRANSGENDER prisoners with a history of violence against women will not be allowed to serve their sentence in a female jail, the Scottish Justice Secretary has announced.

It emerged over the weekend that trans prisoner Tiffany Scott, who stalked a 13-year-old girl while they were named Andrew Burns, has applied to be moved onto the female prison estate.

The Daily Record reported that the transfer has been approved and is likely to happen later this year, with the Scottish Tories calling for the move to be stopped and for the Scottish Government to intervene.

READ MORE: Nadhim Zahawi sacked by Rishi Sunak over tax affairs row

Last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed Isla Bryson, convicted of two rapes under the name of Adam Graham at the High Court in Glasgow last week, would be moved from HMP Cornton Vale and into a male wing of HMP Edinburgh.

And now, Justice Secretary Keith Brown has announced a series of measures to be put in place while the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is conducting a review of the policy.

The measures will mean that no newly convicted transgender person with any history of violence against women will be placed in a female prison – including female sections of prisons traditionally used to house males - and any transgender prisoner with this history will not be moved from a male to a female prison.

Brown said in a statement that he understands the issue of trans women convicted of violent sexual offences is a “highly emotive subject” and that the public concern is “understandable”.

He said: “As the First Minister pointed out last week, we must not allow any suggestion to take root that trans women pose an inherent threat to women.

The National: Brown made the announcement on Sunday after reports regarding a second trans prisoner emergedBrown made the announcement on Sunday after reports regarding a second trans prisoner emerged (Image: Newsquest)

“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.

“Therefore, I hope that the measures I am about to highlight will offer reassurance in the ongoing ability of the prison service to manage trans individuals and ensure the safety of all prisoners.

“We must also never forget that there are victims in these cases. My thoughts remain with them.”

Brown reiterated that he “trusts” SPS to manage offenders and conduct risk assessments on where to house individuals, adding that 0.2% of the prison population identify as trans.

He added that it’s important to keep arrangements for prisoners under review.

READ MORE: Angus Robertson: Vote for Scottish independence is vote to rejoin EU

“It is important to be clear, however, that SPS policies have in no way been changed or impacted by the recent passing of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill (which, in any event, is not yet in force),” Brown added.

“SPS have already been undertaking, in dialogue with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders, a review of the management of trans prisoners, which is nearing completion “In addition, an urgent lessons learned review has been instructed in relation to the case of Isla Bryson, with any learning to be applied immediately to existing transgender cases in the prison estate. The latter review will report to the CEO by Friday 3 Feb.”

Until the SPS review is complete, Brown said that a number of policies will be put in place.

This includes changes to ensure that no trans person in custody with a history of violence against women will be moved from the male to the female prison estate, and that no newly convicted or remanded trans prisoner with a history of violence against women, including sexual offences, will be allowed to serve time in a female jail.

Brown added: “Beyond the steps being set out today, it is vital that decisions about the location and management of prisoners continue to be based on thorough risk assessment, drawing on the expertise and input of relevant professionals and applying any lessons learned from the reviews referred to.

“I am grateful to the Scottish Prison Service for their continued ongoing work in this area and for their professionalism in dealing with complex, high profile and challenging individuals within their care.”

SPS said they had launched an urgent review into all cases of transgender prisoners in their custody, and said their first concern is for the health, safety and wellbeing of those in their care. 

A spokesperson added: “We have very robust risk assessment processes, and a track record of keeping people safe, in often challenging circumstances.

READ MORE: Tiffany Scott: Scottish Government urged to block trans inmate move

“We have therefore paused the movement of all transgender individuals until the review has been completed.

“This review will consider any history of violence or sexual offending against women, and associated risk, with a view to determining the most appropriate location for the individual to be accommodated.q"

The spokesperson confirmed that until the review is completed, any trans person entering the prison system with a history of violence against women will only be admitted to the male estate and held in segregation initially. 

“This arrangement will be progressed in line with our human rights obligations," they added.

“Finally, our ongoing policy review will be independently assessed by experts in women affected by trauma and violence.”

Meanwhile, the Conservatives accused the government of flip-flopping on the issue and called for the review to be completed quickly.

MSP Russell Findlay said: “After much dithering and flip-flopping, the SNP government has finally been shamed into doing the right thing.

“Just days ago, the justice secretary tried to pass the buck, saying decisions on trans prisoners were for the Scottish Prison Service.

“But as public anger escalated, Nicola Sturgeon was forced to intervene by ordering the removal of a double rapist from a women’s prison.

“It should not have taken a second shocking case for them to ban all transfers.”

Findlay also said he would ask Holyrood’s Criminal Justice Committee to investigate the decisions made in the cases of Scott and Bryson.

Scottish Labour’s justice spokeswoman Pauline NcNeill said: “The safety of women and women prisoners is of paramount concern, and it’s welcome to see Brown finally recognise that.

“The SNP have been aware of the failures of the current policy in this area since it was agreed in 2014, it should not have taken this level of public outcry to do the right thing.

“The Scottish Government now needs to change the policy which they oversaw and to bring forward guidance which take account of the views of woman prisoners as a matter of urgency to make sure this does not happen again.”