Transgender women can be allocated to women’s prisons only following a rigorous risk assessment, with particular consideration given to the type of offence they have committed and the risk that they pose to others. The result is that well over 90% of transgender women in prison are held in the men’s estate, and there have been no assaults or sexual assaults carried out by transgender women in the women’s estate since we strengthened our approach in 2019. Just to emphasise, there is an exemption to the Equality Act 2010 requirement not to discriminate against transgender people in relation to single-sex spaces where doing so is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. Prisons can and do rely on that exemption.
I am grateful to my hon. Friend. Does he agree that the protection of women is of paramount consideration when dealing with the placement of transgender offenders in the prison system? On what basis would a male-born prisoner with a record of sex offences against women who now identifies as a transgender woman be placed in a women-only prison?
My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. Just to be clear, the safety of all prisoners is of fundamental importance to the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, and we are particularly aware of the vulnerabilities of many female prisoners. Transgender women who want to move to a women’s prison will be risk-assessed by an expert multidisciplinary panel chaired by a senior prison manager. The panel will consider an individual’s offending history, their anatomy, their behaviour in custody and their use of medication related to gender reassignment, as well as the risk posed to individuals.