The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has been criticised for refusing to release prisoners’ views on transgender inmates in Scotland.
A poll was carried out as part of a review of its the transgender prisoner management policy.
The review was when carried out when transgender rapist Isla Bryson, was sent to Scotland’s only women’s jail following conviction in February last year. Bryson was later moved to a male jail following a huge outcry.
The SPS has refused to disclose the results of the poll following an FOI request made by The Telegraph. A spokesperson said if they were made public, it could undermine the confidentiality of the women who took part.
Isla Bryson, was sent to Scotland’s only women’s jail following conviction in February last year
The updated policy, which was finalised in December, still allows transgender women to be placed in female jails, under certain conditions. The policy has come under fire from opposition in Scotland.
Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Russell Findlay said: “Personal or other sensitive information could be easily removed before publication of this important survey. Doing so might also help explain why the majority of women didn’t even respond.
“Across Scotland’s justice system and the wider public sector, we see increasing evidence of the SNP’s pervasive secrecy culture and this appears to be yet another example.”
Former SNP justice secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “This is entirely unacceptable.”
The scheme has proved controversial (file pic)
He added: “An assessment can’t be made without being able to consider all sides of the argument and, in particular, the views of women prisoners who are most impacted.
“Anonymity can and should be given but the totality of what was said by women must be available.”
Earlier this year, SPS chief executive Teresa Medhurst told MSPs that women in custody were “very kind to and understanding of transgender individuals in our care”.
The SPS told The Telegraph that they turned down the FOI request by claiming releasing the information would “prejudice substantially the effective conduct of public affairs”.
The SNP said any transgender woman with a history of violence against women and girls will not be placed in female prison
However, an SPS prisoner survey carried out every two years is published on its website and says the comprehensive results “furnishes a meaningful channel for the user’s voice to be heard”.
An SPS spokesman said: “We consulted widely in developing our Policy for the Management of Transgender People in Custody, including with women in our care, and their views were integral to its development.
“Under the policy any transgender woman with a history of violence against women and girls, who presents a risk to women and girls, will not be placed in the female estate.”