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Female Prison Estate

Volume 728: debated on Tuesday 21 February 2023

18. What steps he is taking to ensure the safety, privacy and dignity of women within the female prison estate. (903719)

Last month, we published our plan to deliver the female offender strategy for England and Wales, including better outcomes and physical conditions for women in custody.

The recent controversy over the custody of double rapist Adam Graham and other violent offenders has illustrated the danger and naivety of self-ID, with tumultuous consequences, yet the Ministry’s latest statistics for England and Wales show that 230 trans-identifying males are being held on the female prison estate, and that there have been 97 sexual offences, 44 of which were rape. The Scottish Government acted swiftly, so what action will the UK Government take to limit that harm, review practices and clarify equalities legislation to ensure that prisoners are protected from abusive males?

Of course, safety must always come first. I can confirm that we do not hold prisoners based on their self-declared gender identity. Our approach is that transgender women, including those with gender recognition certificates, can be held on the main women’s estate only if a risk assessment concludes that it is safe. The changes to our policy mean that no transgender woman convicted of a sexual offence, or who retains male genitalia, can be allocated to the general women’s estate other than in truly exceptional circumstances.

May I welcome the comments about the female prison estate? Turning to the male prison estate, His Majesty’s Prisons Garth and Wymott in my constituency—

Order. That does not link into this—[Interruption.] Order. One of us will have to sit down, and it is certainly not going to be me. It might help us both if I suggest to the hon. Lady that she might catch my eye during topical questions, when it would be appropriate to raise the very important matter in her constituency.