Trans prisoners 'shouldn't be allowed on female wings' High Court hears

Trans prisoners 'shouldn't be allowed on female wings' High Court hears

A policy of placing trans 'women' in female prisons unlawfully discriminates against other women by exposing them to an increased risk of sexual assault, the UK High Court has been told.

A female prisoner, known only as FDJ, is bringing a legal challenge against a Ministry of Justice policy.

It allows prisoners to be housed according to their gender identity 'irrespective of whether they have taken any legal or medical steps to acquire that gender'.

The woman argues the policy indirectly and unlawfully discriminates against women who were born that gender.

At a High Court hearing on Tuesday, lawyers for FDJ argued that accommodating transgender women in the female prison estate 'exposes female prisoners to a risk of sexual assault that would not arise absent that allocation'.

FDJ claims she was sexually assaulted in prison in 2017 by a trans woman with a gender recognition certificate - which is not admitted by the MoJ.

Her lawyers also argue the policy does not consider 'the extraordinary vulnerability of female prisoners and the prevalence of a history of abuse and gendered violence'.

At the hearing, Karon Monaghan QC, for FDJ, told the court trans women make up around 1% of the female incarcerated population, but are responsible for around 6% of sexual assaults in women's prisons.

She said that a 'disproportionate' 45% of trans prisoners in 2017 had convictions for sexual offences, including a significant amount for rape, compared with 4% of female prisoners in the same year.

FDJ's argument also includes a claim that transgender inmates are five times more likely to carry out sexual attacks in women's prisons, referencing a statistic provided in response to a parliamentary question.

FDJ is also challenging a separate policy in relation to a 'high-risk trans prisoner unit' at HMP Downview in Surrey, which was created in March 2019.