U.K. Justice Secretary Dominic Raab plans to prohibit biological males from being housed in women’s prisons, following high-profile incidents involving transgender inmates.
According to the U.K. Daily Mail, an inmate with male genitalia, convicted of murder, who identifies as a woman was caught earlier this year having consensual sex with a younger female prisoner. Their sexual escapade was supposedly fueled by alcohol the two had illegally acquired. The incident occurred at HMP Bronzefield in Surrey, the largest women’s prison in the country.
The incident became public in May, though it is unclear when it actually occurred. The inmate has since been transferred to a transgender housing unit at another facility.
This same biological male inmate also allegedly told one Bronzefield inmate “I’m going to f*** you” and told another “I love p****. Why would I want to be in a man’s prison?” Allegations have also swirled that the inmate may have sexually assaulted another inmate, though the Ministry of Justice has no such complaint on file.
Another biological male in a U.K. woman’s prison, Karen White, committed sexual assault against two female prisoners four years ago. In all, officials say there have been seven incidents of transgender women attacking female prisoners in England and Wales in recent years.
Raab’s office examined these incidents and determined in July that inmates with male genitalia would no longer be housed with biological females. Exceptions to this policy could be made with the authorization of a minister.
“Once confirmed by the new Government in September,” a spokesperson for Raab’s office said late last week, “[the new policy] would be implemented as soon as possible.”
Despite the optimism from the Ministry of Justice, the policy is likely to face serious legal challenges. It will also need to be approved by the new government, which will take office next month.
Still, many believe that, for too long, the rights of transgender inmates have been prioritized over the rights of biological women.
“The safety of female prisoners is being put at risk, and their dignity and privacy undermined, by being incarcerated with biological males, some of whom are known sex offenders,” one report about transgender prisoners in the U.K. reads.
“The Ministry of Justice acknowledges that this is causing high levels of fear and anxiety to women who are often already traumatised by their experiences of sexual assault and domestic abuse, yet the wish of trans-identifying males to be placed in the women’s estate is given priority,” it continues.
Raab himself weighed in on the issue of transgender inmates recently. “It’s obvious a woman cannot be born with a penis,” Raab insisted back in May.