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Daily Record
Chris McCall

Prison bosses claim 'no women were at risk' by moving trans rapist Isla Bryson to Cornton Vale

Prison bosses have claimed no women were put at risk by the decision to send a transgender rapist to Cornton Vale.

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) faced uproar last month when it was revealed that Isla Bryson - who carried out two rapes while living as a man - was transferred to a women's prison following her conviction.

The rapist was later moved to a men's jail after the Scottish Government announced two reviews of how transgender cases in the prison system are handled.

The first review by the SPS was handed to justice secretary Keith Brown last night - but only a summary of its findings has now been made public.

Jail bosses have decided that all newly convicted or remanded transgender prisoners will be held in establishments which align with their gender at birth.

The measure will stay in place until a second review of the management of transgender prisoners is finished.

Opposition parties branded the report a "whitewash of no substance".

The SPS insisted that Bryson did not come into contact with any other inmates after she was initially transferred from the High Court in Glasgow to Cornton Vale, near Stirling, on January 24.

Brown said: "I want to acknowledge my concern for victims of crime and the distress caused to them.

"It is important that consideration of issues relating to the management of prisoners is measured and does not retraumatise victims or risk unintended consequences for transgender people or individuals in the care of SPS."

SPS chief executive Teresa Medhurst claimed it was "not necessary" to publish the full report due to the level of personal information it contains.

The pair will now face questions from the Scottish Parliament's justice committee later this month.

Recommendations made by the review include improved communication within the justice sector and the creation of a “shared justice process” for the admission of transgender people into prisons.

Russell Findlay, Scottish Conservatives justice spokesman, said: "As expected, this whitewash summary tells us nothing of any substance.

"We still have no idea why a double rapist was sent into a women’s prison or what involvement SNP ministers had in his removal following the public backlash.

"Given the widespread concern and anger, this report should have been published and in full, not just some woolly summary.

"It is an affront to Bryson’s victims that the prison service is pandering to this rapist’s right as justification for their refusal to publish.

"This is typical of SNP secrecy and raises more questions than answers. It is clear that this shoddy stunt is part of the ongoing exercise in damage limitation for Nicola Sturgeon – not a sincere attempt to learn lessons."

Following her conviction last month, Bryson was taken from the court and was initially bound for HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow but was diverted after the SPS was informed of her identifying as a woman.

The court service, the report found, allocates prisoners to facilities based on their sex rather than gender, meaning Bryson was sent in the first instance to the male estate.

The prison service took the decision to house Bryson at Cornton Vale "in alignment with current policy", the review said, in the separation and reintegration unit.

On January 26 a decision was taken to move Bryson to HMP Edinburgh.

A pause on the movement of transgender prisoners with a history of violence against women into the female estate will continue until a wider review of the handling of transgender prisoners can be undertaken.

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