Publicly naming trans criminals could harm them, Scottish civil servants fear

Isla Bryson
Isla Bryson, a double rapist previously known as Adam Graham, was initially placed in Scotland's only female jail - Andrew Milligan/PA

Scottish civil servants have fears over transgender criminals such as Isla Bryson being named publicly because it could be “harmful” to them, a report has revealed.

A UN report discloses that Scottish officials noted that “privacy concerns” had not stopped politicians speaking about specific cases related to trans inmates and that this had led to “the public airing and sharing views”.

They raised fears that this “appeared to diverge from existing guidelines and good practice” and that “there was concern about the potentially harmful consequences of those individuals’ identities having been exposed and debated so publicly in the media and in Parliament”.

The report was made following a visit to Scotland by Victor-Madrigal Borloz, the UN independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, in May last year.

It came a few months after the scandal over Bryson, a double rapist previously known as Adam Graham who was initially placed in Scotland’s only female jail.

The initial decision, based on the principle of gender self-ID which was championed by the SNP government, was reversed following an outcry.

However, the disclosures in the UN report suggest civil servants were unhappy that the case became a focus of public debate.

Since the backlash over Bryson, the Scottish Prison Service has stopped proactively disclosing how many transgender inmates are in its care.

Sharon Dowey, deputy justice spokeswoman for the Scottish Tories, said: “This is another classic example of the SNP pandering to the needs of criminals by pursuing a soft-touch approach to justice.

“The Isla Bryson scandal exposed the dangers of the SNP gender self-ID policy in the justice system when a dangerous male-bodied criminal was able to gain access to a women’s prison.

“The public will be alarmed to learn that predatory criminals could be protected in this manner, especially offenders who have committed rape.”

Trans women taken on female jail day trips

Following the Bryson case, the prison service overhauled its rules around trans inmates.

However, it is still possible for male-bodied trans inmates to be placed in female jails, with decisions taken following individual risk assessments.

It is also possible for trans women being held in the male estate to be taken to female jails on “day trips” so they can spend time with “others of their gender identity”.

Last October, a transgender butcher from the Borders was jailed for sexually abusing a schoolgirl after luring her into a car while dressed as a woman.

Andrew Miller, who was known as Amy George, was sentenced to 20 years in jail for abducting the child and her to a catalogue of assaults.

Judge Lord Arthurson said his victim would not have agreed to enter his car had he presented as a male. Miller was sent to a male jail.

A Scottish Prison Service (SPS) spokesman said: “We seek to be as open and transparent as possible, while also upholding our statutory obligation to ensure those in our care have their personal information protected.”

The Scottish Government said it would not comment on individual prisoners for data protection reasons.

A spokesman added: “Since this visit took place, the SPS have published their transgender policy.”

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