Transgender rapist will not serve sentence at all-female prison – Sturgeon

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A transgender woman convicted of rape will not serve her sentence in Scotland’s only all-female prison, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The Scottish First Minister spoke as the row continued over where Isla Bryson, who was convicted earlier this week of raping two women when she was a man, should be imprisoned.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon confirmed a risk assessment is being carried out by the Scottish Prison Service, as she stressed Bryson would not be accommodated at Cornton Vale women’s prison near Stirling.

Ms Sturgeon said: “It would not be appropriate for me, in respect of any prisoner, to give details of where they are being incarcerated.

“But given the understandable public and parliamentary concern in this case, I can confirm to Parliament that this prisoner will not be incarcerated at Cornton Vale women’s prison.

“I hope that provides assurance to the public.”

Bryson, previously known as Adam Graham, was on Tuesday found guilty of raping one woman in Clydebank in 2016 and another in Drumchapel, Glasgow, in 2019, following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow and was understood to be being held at Cornton Vale ahead of sentencing next month.

Her estranged wife, Shonna Graham, 31, claimed her decision to change gender was a “sham”.

Ms Graham said she has a “lot of sympathy” for transgender people, but that her former partner is attempting to fool the authorities.

She told the Daily Mail: “Never once did he say anything to me about feeling he was in the wrong body or anything.

“I have a lot of sympathy for real transgender people, it’s a hard thing to live with, but he’s just bullshitting the authorities.”

Isla Bryson court case
Isla Bryson was found guilty of raping two women when she was a man (Andrew Milligan/PA)

She also accused Bryson of being abusive in their relationship.

During the court proceedings, Bryson claimed she knew she was transgender at the age of four but did not make the decision to transition until she was 29, and is currently taking hormones and seeking surgery to complete gender reassignment.

She said that in 2016 she was “struggling with my sexuality and having issues emotionally”.

Ms Graham said she had been attempting to seek a divorce from Bryson for the last seven years, but had been unable to find her.

She claimed: “I can see why he doesn’t want to be in a prison with loads of big scary men, so he’s come up with this ploy to get himself a much easier sentence.

“Sending him to a women’s prison is outrageous, will one of the vulnerable women inmates be the next victim to be attacked by him?

“He won’t stop, it’s in his nature.”

Meanwhile, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has also criticised the decision to hold Bryson in a women’s prison.

Labour Party Conference 2022
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has criticised the decision to place Bryson in a women’s prison (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“That is straightforward and I think most people would agree with that.”

Fiona Cruickshanks, head of operations and protection at the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), said if an individual inmate poses a particular risk, they can be removed and separated from other prisoners.

She told BBC’s Reporting Scotland on Wednesday: “If we think that an individual poses particular risks, or if there is a particular risk to them, then we have the opportunity to remove them from mainstream and keep them separated until such times as our decision is made on how we best manage that risk.

“Any transgender person who is admitted into custody is admitted into the establishment that matches their identified gender that they were living in within the community.”

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