MALES IN WOMEN’S PRISONS: CONVICTIONS & SENTENCES

Who are these males who are held in women’s prisons? What offences have they been convicted of? What sentences they have received? How do their convictions and sentences compare to those of women in prison?

The HM Prison and Probation Service Offender Equalities Annual Report, which reports on the numbers of males without GRCs who identify as transgender does not provide any information about the categories of offence committed, nor length of sentence.

The most recent data on the categories of offence committed by male prisoners who identify as transgender was given in response to Parliamentary Question 98878 asked by Tim Loughton:

• 60% of male prisoners who identify as transgender, who have no GRC and who are held in the male estate have at least one conviction for a sexual offence. This is a very slight increase over the rate for the 2019 data, which showed that 57% of the 129 males who identify as transgender had at least one conviction for a sexual offence (FOI200615022). Note that the total number of male prisoners who identify as transgender, who have no GRC and who are held in the male estate is given here as 146.

• This rate of 60% is far higher than that both for women in prison (around 2% of women in prison in England and Wales have been sentenced for sexual offences) and for men in prison (around 17% of men in prison in England and Wales have been sentenced for sexual offences).

• There is at least one male who identifies as transgender with at least one conviction for a sexual offence housed in the female estate.

We have collected details of 28 males convicted between 2014 and 2020 who are known to have been held in women’s prisons or have been given a place in a women’s hostel after release. However, the true number of males who have been held in female prisons is almost certain to be higher than this. First, we have only accessed information from 2014 onwards and we know males have been eligible to be housed in women’s prisons since at least the 1980s. Second, only those males whose crimes were reported in the media are included. Third, the place of incarceration of some males who we know have ‘transitioned’ and who have been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment is not known, even when the conviction was reported in the media. Fourth, males who have ‘transitioned’ but who were known to have been sent to a prison in the male estate could have successfully applied to be transferred to a women’s prison. We know that males have been successful in these applications and there is no reason to assume that all of these transfers to the female estate have been reported by the media.

Returning to the 28 males who we know have been allocated to women’s prisons or hostels, most were convicted of very serious offences. All but two were convicted of violent or sexual offences. This includes: ten who were convicted of rape or attempted rape, including the rape of children; ten who were convicted of murder or attempted murder; four who were convicted of sexual offences against children. Sentencing reflects the nature and severity of the crimes committed: ten were jailed for life; one was jailed indefinitely for public protection; five received sentences of between ten and twenty years. You can read about some of these males in Case Studies: Males In Women’s Prisons.

These are violent and dangerous males who are wholly unlike women in prison in terms of offending and severity of sentence. Evidence suggests that males who identify as transgender are clustered at the most serious end of the scale of male offending.