Last year, there were 168 legally male transgender female prisoners in England and Wales. Only six were in women’s prisons, the others in men’s prisons.
Eleven other detainees had legally changed their sex by obtaining gender recognition certificates. Research shows that men imprisoned for sexual offenses are twice as likely to identify as trans women than men imprisoned for other types of offenses.
Transgender prisoners can be held in men’s prisons or in the E wing of HMP Downview, a women’s prison, which has been reopened as a “transgender unit” to house transgender prisoners who could not be held in safely in men’s prisons.
The MoJ’s approach differs from Scotland’s. In England and Wales, transgender women can only be held in a women’s prison if a risk assessment by a Complex Case Board (CCB) indicates it is safe to do so.
In Scotland, it is presumed they will be detained based on self-declared gender identity, unless there are concerns about risk.