A women’s prison near London will open what has been referred to as Europe’s first prison unit exclusively for men who identify as women.
Three trans-identified prisoners who’ve legally changed their gender will be the first residents of the new wing at Downview women’s prison in Surrey, where they will not have access to any other inmates.
The unit will have 15 single cells and one cell with two beds. The new unit is big enough to house about 20 prisoners.
The new unit comes in light of reported sexual assaults in women’s prisons at the hands of men which has forced the government to review its policies allowing trans-identified inmates to serve in women’s prisons.
“Prisoner safety is our biggest concern and any decisions we take will seek to best manage the risks posed by each offender,” a British Ministry of Justice spokesperson said in a statement.
According to The Sunday Times, the new unit will be housed inside a building that was previously named after Victorian-era feminist Josephine Butler.
“The wider management of transgender offenders is a highly sensitive issue which poses unique and complex challenges and we are determined to get it right,” the Ministry of Justice spokesperson added.
Andrea Albutt, the president of the Prison Governors Association, told the newspaper that the unit’s success depends on how effectively female prisoners can be protected.
The outlet reports that about 50 percent of the British trans-identified prison population are sex offenders.
‘They’re going to have to have some kinds of safeguards to make sure that a Karen White event doesn’t happen again,” Albutt is quoted as saying. “That is the number one priority.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith