Prisoners: Females

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 1st March 2021.

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Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price Conservative, Thurrock

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners serving sentences in the women's prison estate are (a) women and (b) transwomen.

Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price Conservative, Thurrock

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners serving sentences for sex offences are (a) women and (b) transwomen; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The information regarding the number of prisoners serving sentences in the women’s prison estate who are women is published as part of the Offender Management Statistics quarterly and can be found in Table 1.1 (here).

We are not able to release the requested information in respect of the number of transwomen across the women’s prison estate. This is because the number is five or fewer. Low numbers are suppressed to prevent disclosure in accordance with the Data Protection Act, 1998. This applies to values of five or fewer or other values which would allow values of five or fewer to be derived by subtraction. This is to prevent the identification of individuals. The Ministry of Justice is fully mindful of the need to balance the rights of individuals within the women’s estate with risk management.

The information regarding the number of prisoners serving sentences for sex offences who are women is also published as part of the Offender Management Statistics quarterly and can be found in Table 1.2b (here). An ad hoc data collection exercise in 2019 revealed that there were 54 legally male prisoners who identified as female (transwomen), whose principal offence for which they were serving an immediate custodial sentence was a sexual offence, across all establishments in England and Wales.

Details of transgender individuals were provided by men’s and women’s public and private prisons in England and Wales in March-April 2019 following an exercise to gather information from transgender individuals in custody. Individuals are not obliged to share data on their identity, so we consider the figures to provide an estimate of the number of transgender individuals in prison. We are committed to mitigating some of the challenges around data collection, and ultimately improving the process to ensure data is reliable.

We are committed to ensuring that transgender individuals are treated fairly, lawfully and decently, with their rights and safety properly respected. Regardless of where a transgender individual is being held, we expect that they will be respected and that their needs will be addressed in accordance with the gender with which they identify.

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