Write to prisons

 

Where it is clear that a male is being held in a particular prison, you can write to the prison to express your disagreement with the policy of housing male prisoners in the female estate.  You can ask what assurances can be given that female prisoners will be safe and that their rights to single-sex spaces that exclude all males are respected.  Where the male prisoner in question has been convicted of a violent or sexual offence, you should refer to this to make a stronger case.

 

Here are some suggested points to include.  Please note that some points have variations according to whether you live in Scotland or in England and Wales.

 

1.    I am concerned that the rights of women in prison to single-sex spaces, services and communal accommodation, as provided for in the Equality Act (2010) are not being met.  I understand from (refer to press report here) that a male prisoner (give name here) is serving his sentence at (name of prison here).
 

2.    Schedule 3, paragraphs 26, 27 & 28 and Schedule 23, paragraph 3 of the Equality Act provide that males may be excluded from single-sex spaces, services and communal accommodation as a proportionate means to a legitimate aim where the activities that take place within that space and the reasonable expectation of female users of that space is such that they may object to the presence of a male.  A male may be excluded even if he has the protected characteristic gender reassignment.  He may be excluded notwithstanding the provisions in the Gender Recognition Act (2004) that enable a male, subsequent to meeting certain diagnostic and procedural criteria, to obtain legal recognition of acquired gender, in the form of a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), and to become ‘a legal woman’.  That women require spaces that exclude all males is self-evident: single-sex spaces exist for reasons of safety, dignity and privacy.
 

3.    (England and Wales): However, the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service Policy Framework The Care and Management of Individuals who are Transgender states otherwise.  This policy framework states that males who have a GRC must be housed in the female estate, whilst males who identify as women but who do not have a GRC may be housed in the female estate, subject to the approval of a transgender case board. 

(Scotland): However the Scottish Prison Service policy framework, Gender Identity and Gender Reassignment Policy for those in our Custody states otherwise.  This policy framework states that males who identify as women are to be housed in the female estate as this will best serve their needs.

 

4.    Women in prison are known to be particularly vulnerable.  Many experience mental health problems and are at high risk of suicide and self-harm.  Many have been the victims of violence and sexual violence at the hands of males, often going back to childhood.
 

5.    It is accepted throughout the Criminal Justice System that female offenders respond best in female-only settings and services.  Evidence consistently shows that these are the most effective places for them to tackle the issues surrounding their offending and reduce their offending going forwards.
 

6.    I am concerned that housing male prisoners in the female prison estate causes understandable distress to women prisoners, puts women at risk and compromises their chances at rehabilitation.
 

7.    Women in prison are entitled to single-sex spaces in the same way that all women are entitled to them.  This right is provided for in law.  Here, I note the statement by the Rt. Hon Elizabeth Truss, Minister for Women and Equalities, on publication of the report Gender Recognition Act Analysis of Consultation Responses by the Government Equalities Office on 22 September 2020 and I am particularly pleased that the Government has restated its commitment to the provisions for single-sex spaces and services for women and girls as stated in the Equality Act.
 

8.    (England and Wales): In consideration of this, I believe that Ministry of Justice and HM Prisons and Probation Service policy and practice must be brought in line with the provisions in the Equality Act.

(Scotland): In consideration of this, I believe that Scottish Prisons Service policy and practice must be brought in line with the provisions in the Equality Act.

 

What assurances are you able to give that (name of prison) ensures its female prisoners are safe and that their right in law to single-sex spaces is being honoured?

 

Prisons in England
 

HMP Askham Grange

Askham Richard

York YO23 3FT

Governor: Julia Spence

HMP Bronzefield

Woodthorpe Road

Ashford

Middlesex TW15 3JZ

Acting Director: Vicky Robinson

HMP Downview

Sutton Lane

Sutton  SM2 5PD

Governor: Natasha Wilson

HMP Drake Hall

Eccleshall

Stafford  ST21 6LQ

Governor: Carl Hardwick

HMP East Sutton Park

Workhouse Road

Sutton Valence

Maidstone  ME17 3DF

Governor: Penny Bartlett

HMP Eastwood Park

Falfield

Wotton-under-Edge  GL12 8DB

Governor: Suzy Dymond-White

HMP Foston Hall

Foston

Derby  DE65 5DN

Governor: Andrea Black

HMP Low Newton

Brasside

Durham  DH1 5YA

Governor: Gabrielle Lee

HMP New Hall

5 New Hall Way

Flockton

Wakefield  WF4 4AX

Governor: Natalie McKee

HMP Peterborough (male and female facilities)

Saville Road

Westwood

Peterborough  PE3 7PD

Director: Damian Evans

HMP Send

Ripley Road

Ripley

Woking  GU23 7LJ

Governor: Carlene Dixon

HMP Styal

Styal Road

Wilmslow  SK9 4HR

Governor: Danny Khan

Prisons in Scotland

HMP Cornton Vale

Cornton Road

Stirling  FK9 5NU

Governor: Jacqueline Clinton

HMP Edinburgh (male and female facilities, female offenders held at Ratho Hall)

33 Stenhouse Road

Edinburgh  EH11 3LN

HMP Grampian (male and female facilities, female offenders held at Banff Hall)

South Road

Peterhead  AB42 2YY

Acting Governor: Mike Hebden

HMP Drake Hall

Eccleshall

Stafford  ST21 6LQ

Governor: Carl Hardwick

HMP Inverness (male and female facilities)

Duffy Drive

Inverness  IV2 3HH

Governor: Patrick Griffin

HMP Polmont (male young offenders and female facilities)

Polmont

Brightons

FK2 0AB

Governor: Brenda Stewart