Tories call for Sturgeon statement on trans prisoners

Tories call for Sturgeon statement on trans prisoners

The Scottish Tories have urged the First Minister to make a statement to Holyrood to clarify government policy on transgender prisoners.

The issue has been in the spotlight since last week when transgender double rapist Isla Bryson, 31, was admitted to a segregation ward at Cornton Vale Prison near Stirling – Scotland’s lonely women-only facility.

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) made the decision on Thursday to move Bryson to another prison after public outcry and the First Minister’s concerns were brought to the attention of officials – although Ms Sturgeon said she had given no formal direction that to make a change.

I have requested a statement from @NicolaSturgeon in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.

The First Minister must answer questions about her chaotic U-turn regarding dangerous criminals being sent to women’s prisons.

— Russell Findlay (@RussellFindlay1) January 30, 2023

The row continued over the weekend as reports surfaced that Tiffany Scott – who had been convicted of stalking a 13-year-old girl before her transformation – would be sent to a women’s unit, reports Justice Secretary Keith Brown denied.

On Sunday, Mr Brown announced a pause for transgender prisoners with convictions for violence against women who were transferred to the women’s estate, as well as an urgent review of the handling of the Bryson case.

Scottish Tory Borough Security spokesman Russell Findlay urged the First Minister to make a statement to the MSP this week, adding that his party will seek to amend justice reform legislation put before Parliament by the Government in order to do so make the break permanent.

“After days of SNP chaos, confusion and about-faces, Nicola Sturgeon urgently needs to come to Parliament,” he said.

“She needs to explain the messy mess to her government and how to ensure the safety of women prisoners.

“We need full transparency because the only thing that is clear at the moment is that the Justice Secretary is completely screwed.

“Keith Brown was only shamed into this dramatic reversal after a sustained public outcry over two high-risk criminals.

“But a ‘pause’ on criminals with a history of violence against women held in women’s prisons does not go far enough.

“We need a permanent ban to protect vulnerable female inmates.

“The last few days have shown that Nicola Sturgeon stands completely apart from public opinion. Putting the rights of high-risk criminals ahead of vulnerable women is absolutely perverse.”

Speaking to journalists on Monday, the First Minister declined to say whether she would make a statement before Parliament on the issue, saying that “Parliament as a whole has discussed these issues at every step”.

The decision to halt the placement of trans prisoners who have previously been violent towards women was taken on Sunday and MPs have not yet had an opportunity to question ministers in Holyrood on the decision.

“I was in Parliament on Thursday and answered questions on this very subject during the First Secretary’s Questions,” added Ms Sturgeon.

She went on to say that “there will be the normal scrutiny and opportunity for questions from myself and other ministers over the course of Parliament week”.

Tory MPs also called on the government to work with Dr. Alice Edwards – the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – who tweeted her concerns about the Scott case.

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