The UK government has announced that it will no longer place trans women “with male genitalia” in women’s prisons “unless there are exceptional circumstances”.
The reforms will also prevent trans women who have been convicted of a sexual offence being placed in said facilities.
“This will create a strong presumption, but allow for exemptions to be considered by Ministers on a case-by-case basis – though only the most truly exceptional cases will be considered,” the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) wrote in a statement on 25 January.
“We will be publishing an updated policy framework shortly, which will set out the new guidance in detail and how it will be implemented by the Prison Service.”
It has been confirmed that the policy will take effect once the revised framework has been published.
It follows an announcement in October last year that Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary, was planning to reform the allocation of trans prisoners.
Data published by the MoJ in November last year showed that there were a total of 230 trans prisoners out of a total population of 79,773 inmates.
Of those who identified as trans, 187 recorded their legal gender as male and the remaining 43 as female.
Current estimates from the government state that more than 90 per cent of trans women are housed in men’s prisons and that “most do not request a move to a women’s prison.”
“Transgender women without a Gender Recognition Certificate – i.e. who are not legally female – are initially sent to a male prison as a matter of course,” the MoJ further explained in its announcement.
The government said it is hopeful the changes “will ensure a sensitive and common-sense approach to meeting the needs of women in custody, while we continue to ensure that transgender prisoners are appropriately supported in whichever estate they are located in.”