MSP calls for review after violent Glasgow double rapist sent to women's prison
AN MSP is calling for an urgent investigation to establish the ‘exact circumstances’ of how a transgender double rapist was sent to a women’s prison.
Isla Bryson was known as Adam Graham when carrying out violent sex attacks on two women, one in Clydebank in 2016 and another in Drumchapel in 2019.
But after being charged with two rapes, Bryson appeared in the dock at Glasgow High Court as a woman, despite not fully transitioning. After less than a day of deliberation, a jury found the 31-year-old guilty of both crimes.
Bryson was temporarily held on remand at Cornton Vale in Stirling, ahead of sentencing next month, however has since been moved to a male wing at HMP Edinburgh.
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There is now a 'pause' on transgender prisoners with a history of violence against women being placed in Scotland's female jails and now Russell Findlay MSP, Shadow Minister for Community Safety, has written to the convener of the Criminal Justice Committee asking for a full probe into why Bryson was ever placed in a female prison.
Mr Findlay, who is deputy convenor of the committee, states in his letter: “The committee is ideally placed to conduct a full investigation into the exact circumstances of how this happened and the subsequent decision to transfer this individual to the male estate.
“It is within the remit of the committee to take evidence from all relevant parties, and it is our duty to do so given the significant public concern about these recent events. Fundamentally, this is about ensuring the safety of women in custody, a subject which you and other committee members are passionate about. I believe this is a matter of overwhelming public interest.
“Many female prisoners have suffered from male sexual and domestic violence and abuse. The existing policy around the incarceration of transgender inmates requires examination. I sincerely hope that you share my concerns and agree this would be a necessary use of the committee’s time.”
Further concerns were raised by the case of Tiffany Scott - who previously identified as Andrew Burns - who had an application to move to a women's prison approved.
She has a history of violence and is serving an order for lifelong restriction, meaning she will only be released when she is no longer considered an "unmanageable risk to public safety".
Critics argued vulnerable women prisoners, many of whom were victims of male violence, were being placed at risk by the controversial decisions.
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Justice Secretary Keith Brown said the 'urgent lessons learned review' into the Bryson case will be completed by Friday. The Scottish Prison Service was already undertaking a wider look at its transgender policy.
Until that is concluded, Mr Brown has said that no transgender person already in custody with a history of violence against women will be moved from the male to female estate. Additionally, no newly convicted or remanded transgender prisoner with any history of violence against women will be housed in a female jail.
According to the latest Scottish Prison Service statistics, there were 11 trans women, four trans men and three non-binary/gender fluid prisoners between July and September 2022 across 7,092 male and 280 female inmates
A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: "The committee will consider Mr Findlay's letter at its meeting as part of its planned work programme discussion."