Prison Information Sheet

This Prison information sheet contains links to policies, media articles, legal findings and expert opinions. It may assist anyone who has concerns in this area and is wanting to raise them with their MSP for example. Please feel free to share its link with others.

This is a link to the Scottish Prison Service Policy.  The metadata for the document lists James Morton, manager of Scottish Trans Alliance as the author.

This is the Scottish Prison Service Equality Impact Assessment . It confirms that no women’s groups were consulted.

This House of Commons briefing paper gives an outline of the differences amongst prison policies around the UK.

Recent media articles about Scottish prisons

The Herald – Scottish Prison Service Rejects Call for transgender wings in jail

The Times – Male Transgender Prisoners pose threat to women

Dr James Barrett is the lead clinician at the Gender Identity Clinic at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust submitted evidence to the Women & Equalities Committee inquiry into Transgender Equality. 

“It has been rather naïvely suggested that nobody would seek to pretend transsexual status in prison if this were not actually the case. There are, to those of us who actually interview the prisoners, in fact very many reasons why people might pretend this.”

Article in The Times about disproportionately high statistics of sex offenders who identify as transgender.

These confirm Dr Barrett’s submission about prisoners falsely declaring a trans status.  This combined with the current policy that states trans prisoners should be housed in the estate of their preferred sex created a dangerous safe guarding loophole.  

Current UK Law bases decision on whether or not a prisoner has a Gender Recognition Certificate.  A prisoner cannot be held to be discriminated against if they are held within the prison estate of their legal sex (either through birth or legal gender recognition).  Yet policies have been written to support the opposite view.  The following is an excerpt of the Judge’s findings.  

“I find it impossible to see how a female prisoner can be regarded as the appropriate comparator. The claimant is a man seeking to become a woman – but he is still of the male gender and a male prisoner. He is in a male prison and until there is a Gender Recognition Certificate, he remains male. A woman prisoner cannot conceivably be the comparator as the woman prisoner has (either by birth or election) achieved what the claimant wishes. Male to female transsexuals are not automatically entitled to the same treatment as women – until they become women.”

http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2013/3491.html&query=(Transsexual)

There are a number of male transgender prisoners in Scotland who have been or still are housed in the female estate.  If the Gender Recognition Act were to be amended to allow a person to Self Declare their sex then UK case law would be required to compare the treatment of these prisoners not against other males as in the case above, but to other female prisoners, thus permitting their transfer requests as valid.  This would heighten the need for additional safeguarding measures to be adopted within women’s prisons as the current number of women prisoners who are violent/sex offenders is fractional compared to the overall estate.

Self declaration allows a loophole to be created within safeguarding practices which sexual predators will exploit.  The Gender Recognition Act 2004 has not been amended yet policies and practices around many sectors in Scotland have already adopted Self Identification of a persons sex.  The prison examples below highlight the extreme range of this being abused yet reports in the media are increasing with more cases occurring in the public domain.  

Here are extracts from media reports about some of the violent male prisoners in Scotland who identify as women.  

Paris Green / Peter Laing, a violent male who identifies as a trans woman, was jailed for a minimum of 18 years in 2013 for the torture and murder of Robert Shankland, 46, in Glenrothes, Fife.

Green, 22, and two associates lured Mr Shankland back to Green’s flat in March 2013 before tying him up and battering him to death after sexually assaulting him with a rolling pin. As he lay dying, the killers ate ham sandwiches paid for with the proceeds of selling their victim’s mobile phone.

Green was initially sent to HMP Cornton Vale, a women’s prison in Stirling. However, within 5 weeks Green was pursuing female prisoners sexually and so was moved to the women’s wing of HMP Edinburgh while awaiting gender reassignment surgery. Despite further warnings, Green continued to sexually pursue female prisoners and so was eventually moved to the men’s section of the jail in early 2017. See also Jessica Winfield who was segregated from female prisoners at HMP Bronzefield after reportedly sexually threatening them.

The victim’s sister claimed Green is taking advantage of the system, saying “The whole thing is a joke. We don’t believe he really wants a sex change. “He’s just trying to manipulate the system and the tax payer is footing the bill.”

Daniel / Sophie Eastwood, a violent male who identifies as a trans woman, was convicted of murder in 2004. Eastwood, then 19, strangled a fellow inmate Paul Algae, 22, in Dumfries Young Offenders’ Institution and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 15 years. At the time, Eastwood had been serving a 12 month sentence for dangerous driving.

In 2008 Eastwood, then 23, was given an extra 10 months for a violent attack in which he punched a male prison guard several times, reportedly while on a rare break from a specialist segregation unit, indicating the prisoners’ unsuitability to be housed in the general population.

In 2016, a female prison officer employed by G4S was forced to resign after Eastwood used information he had gathered on her life and her family to intimidate her while she was escorting him on a hospital visit.

In 2018 Eastwood was reported to now identify as a trans woman and has demanded prison staff use the name Sophie. Eastwood is not understood to have requested gender reassignment surgery or a move to Scotland’s only female prison, HMP Cornton Vale.

Phil Fairley of the Prison Officers Association said: “While a small number, more and more prisoners and undergoing gender changes.

“It makes our officers’ jobs more difficult and there have been issues raised by guards who have to do things like searches.

“It has the potential to be misused by people as a way of getting moved jails.”

*Update May 2018*

Eastwood was reportedly moved to HMP Polmont after what the media euphemistically call being “openly intimate in front of others” while outside and “letting things all hang out” i.e. having public sex with fellow trans-identified male murderer Alan Baker/Alex Stewart in HMP Greenock.

Andrew Burns / Tiffany Scott a violent male who identifies as a trans woman, is a serial violent offender with a string of convictions for violence against women (including members of the public, nurses and prison officers), assaults, stalking, criminal damage, vandalism, making false allegations against prison officers and resisting arrest. 

Burns/Scott is one of only around 100 offenders in Scotland subject to an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR), under which prisoners are only released once no longer considered an “unmanageable risk to public safety”.

In August 2017, Burns/Scott was convicted of five charges of assault and one of criminal damage between August and October 2015 while held in a segregation unit at HMP Glenochil. Burns/Scott, 26, had smeared excrement over a cell at HMP Glenochil, ripped up supposedly tear-proof clothing, bitten open veins to spray people with blood, and assaulted four warders and a prison nurse. The prisoner became so aggressive that medical staff at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary refused to treat him after he hit a nurse across the back with a chair. It took 11 security and prison officers to get him under control. Burns/Scott had also apparently “refuse[d] to be searched by G4S as he claims to identify as a woman”

Burns/Scott was referred to as a woman using female pronouns ‘she’ and ‘her’ in media coverage of the 2017 trial.

Burns/Scott appeared at Falkirk Sheriff’s Court, one of the highest-security court complexes in Scotland after an earlier trial at a local court was abandoned after an internal report warned Scott was “too dangerous” to be tried in public. After an outcry from prison officers’ union officials, it was re-raised in Falkirk. Burns/Scott was sentenced to a further year in prison and is believed to be serving the sentence at HMP Edinburgh.

Alan Baker / Alex Stewart, a violent male who identifies as a trans woman, was jailed for life for murdering John Weir in August 2013. 

Baker stabbed Mr Weir at least 16 times in the chest at his home in Bonhill, West Dunbartonshire. At the High Court in Dumbarton, Baker was sentenced to a minimum of 19 years in jail before being able to apply for parole.

Baker, 25, murdered Mr Weir, 36, after having met via an online gay dating service. It has since been revealed that Baker abused five other ex-partners, but no reports were made to the police. Judge Lord Boyd said Baker was guilty of a “wicked and brutal” attack.

A pre-sentencing report had stated Baker had suffered from “emotional and sexual problems” and STV reported that the prisoner grinned while being led handcuffed to the cells to begin the sentence.

Despite Pink News reporting that the court was told “Baker had been undergoing gender confirmation treatment at the time of the killing,” their coverage refers to the defendant as a man, as does The Sun’s, STV’s and the BBC’s reports. Pink News also discussed Baker’s record of domestic violence in the context of gay relationships in this article, indicating they consider Baker to be a man not a trans woman.

The Sun also quotes sources in the jail as saying that “fellow cons in the female-only wing reckon Baker took on his new identity purely to get special treatment from jail bosses” and that Baker is going by the name of Alex Stewart.

Not to be confused with Alan Baker, another male who identifies as a trans woman who was convicted of attempted murder in 2008.

In 2018 Baker/Stewart (who has still not undergone any medical transition while in prison) was reported as winning a “Miss Fitness” trophy, a coveted sports tournament within HMP Greenock where the winner receives a goodie bag of items such as chocolate, crisps, snacks, coffee and tea, juice, soap and toiletries which are valuable currency in the jail.

A source was quoted in the Daily Record as saying “The rest of [the women prisoners] shouldn’t have bothered even entering.” “It was surreal. Everybody knew it wasn’t very fair, but nobody was allowed to say it.

The source also revealed that Baker / Stewart is not segregated from female prisoners in the showers and female prisoners are uncomfortable with the policy.

“The women inmates have had to accept that Stewart is being allowed to live as a woman, despite not having had surgery.”

“That means she is in the showers at the same time as other inmates, which some have found quite awkward.”

*Update May 2018*

Baker/Stewart reportedly formed a relationship with fellow trans-identified male murderer Daniel/Sophie Eastwood who was reportedly moved to HMP Polmont after what the media euphemistically call being “openly intimate in front of others” while outside and “letting things all hang out” i.e. subjecting female prisoners to witness them having sex in HMP Greenock. Both must have been in the female prisoners wing of HMP Greenock as Baker Stewart reportedly beat female prisoners in a fitness competition at the jail in February 2108.

Alan /Sarah Baker, a violent male who identifies as a trans woman, was jailed for life in 2008 on an indeterminate sentence with a nine year tariff (though has been in prison for more than 25 years), after trying to kill another prisoner, an alleged child rapist. At the time Baker was serving a jail sentence for the kidnap and torture of a family member (stepmother’s brother).

It was reported in August 2013 that Baker was undergoing surgery to become a trans woman while at HMP Elmley, a local Category B/C men’s prison, before transfer to a women’s prison. Baker was reportedly due a parole hearing in October 2013, aged 43, having been in prison since the age of 19.

In 2014 Baker made an allegation of assault and torture by two prison officers on the way back from an appointment at Charing Cross Hospital’s gender clinic. The prison has denied the claims.

In 2017 Baker published a book entitled Transgender Behind Prison Walls and maintains a Twitter account where ‘all Tweets and replies are sent for & on behalf of Sarah’ and location is given as HMP Lewes (a local men’s prison in Sussex) indicating Baker has not fulfilled criteria to be transferred to a women’s prison..

Not to be confused with Alan Baker #2, another violent male who identifies as a trans woman, who was convicted of murder in 2013.

Gavin/ Joyce Boyd, a violent male transvestite and sex offender, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 20 year old Vikki McGrand in her Ayr home.

At the High Court in Glasgow in May 2010, Lord Turnbull told Boyd that he could not be considered for parole until he had served 20 years, before adding: “you may never be released”.

The court heard that Boyd and Ms McGrand had been friends and she even offered to help him with his make-up when he dressed up as ‘Joyce’. Ms McGrand was said to have a DVD of Boyd which showed him wearing a red PVC skirt, suspenders, boots and a silver tiara. When she refused to give him the DVD, Boyd punched her on the head, knocked her to the ground, tied a Playstation cable round her neck and then pressed a pillow over her face, smothering her.

While out on on licence in 1999, Boyd tried to rape a 19-year-old woman in her home and repeatedly hit her with a knife which left her permanently disfigured. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and sent to high security HMP Peterhead, a specialist centre for sex offenders. However, despite his appalling record, Boyd was released in 2006 after seven years and initially he was supervised 24 hours a day. But this was reduced to just 14 hours a week shortly before he murdered Ms McGrand in August 2008.

Boyd was first admitted to Carstairs psychiatric hospital in 1977, aged just 18, following convictions for theft and willful fireraising. He was released nine years later. He was then convicted of indecent assault, theft, housebreaking, breach of the peace and breach of bail. The authorities recalled Boyd to Carstairs, but released him again in 1992.

In August 2016, along with Andrew Burns (a violent male serial offender who identifies as a woman), Boyd was one of 100 prisoners in HMP Glenochil who falsely declared they were Jewish to receive kosher food.

Media Reports

Aaron / Alexis Herschell, a violent male who previously identified as a trans woman after he was arrested, was convicted in July 2017 of the attempted rape of a 19 year old woman he met on the dating app, MeetMe. Herschell, 20, was sentenced to 2 years in jail at the High Court in Glasgow in October 2017.

No mention of Herschell’s transgender status was made at trial so must assume he either detransitioned or he claimed to be trans in order to force female prison staff to search him, as was suspected when he first entered custody.

A second charge of raping another woman in a park in Plains, North Lanarkshire returned a not proven verdict, despite Herschell, 19, admitting to both attacks on a video recorded by friends of the first woman.

Herschell 

was initially remanded on the two rape charges in October 2016 as a man named Aaron and reported as the first prisoner in Scotland to seek gender reassignment while awaiting trial for sex offences, having never declared trans status previously. Herschell was reportedly held in a segregation unit at HMYOI Polmont while on remand rather than in the section reserved for female prisoners.

In common with staff at HMP Glenochil housing Andrew Burns, female prison staff raised concerns with management and their union regarding being “ordered to carry out rubdown searches on the prisoner when necessary”, fearing they may lose their job if they refuse. HMYOI Polmont does not have full body scanners, so intimate searches (by a guard of the same sex) are a necessary part of the routine. A source told the Daily Record “No one would wish to have to carry out any kind of intimate search on a prisoner whose alleged criminal sexual behaviour will be at the centre of a High Court trial.”

Andrew McWilliam. 1989 raped a pregnant women, sentenced to 12 years, released in 1997months later bundled a woman, 29, into her car at knifepoint and tied her up. Sentenced to 15 years.  Aug 2018 refused transfer from Glenochil to Cornton Vale.

Richard Grattage/Vicky Green. Currently housed in Cornton Vale.  Sexual Crimes against 14yr girl.  

Source of prisoner media reports: transcrimeuk.com

Another concern is how the media is reporting these crimes and the affect it will have on crime statistics.  For example, the ‘woman’ in this headline is clearly male. 

(This is a working document created a few months ago and the information was accurate at that time. I will continue to add any recent developments surrounding the Prison Service)

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