Trans woman convicted of rape will not be housed in all-women’s prison, Nicola Sturgeon confirms

A screenshot of Nicola Sturgeon wearing a navy suit as she talks during First Ministers Questions at the Scottish Parliament

Trans woman Isla Bryson, who was convicted by a Scottish court of raping two women prior to her transition, will not be housed in an all-female prison, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed. 

Following a six-day trial at the High Court in Glasgow, a jury found on Tuesday (24 January) that Bryson from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, had raped two women.

Bryson was remanded to Cornton Vale women’s prison in Stirling after being convicted of carrying out the rapes, which took place in 2016 and 2019. 

One victim was raped in Clydebank and one in Drumchapel, Glasgow. 

Scotland’s first minister announced today (26 January) that Bryson would be removed from the prison soon and serve her sentence elsewhere. 

Addressing concerns about where Bryson would be placed during First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish parliament, Ms Sturgeon said: “I don’t see how it’s possible to have a rapist within a female prison, even the understandable public and parliamentary concern. 

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“In this case, I can confirm to parliament that this prisoner will not be incarcerated at Cornton Vale women’s prison. 

“And I hope that provides assurance to the public presiding officer, not least to the victims, in this particular case.”

Isla Bryson will be sentenced next month and the judge in the case, Mr Justice Scott, told her while she stood in the dock: “You have been convicted by the jury of two extremely serious charges; those being charges of rape.” 

He added the crimes were “considerable” and “a significant sentence is inevitable”.

The length of time she will be remanded in custody is to allow the judge to gather “as much information as possible” before delivering a sentence. 

Sturgeon’s announcement comes as the UK government has said it will no longer place trans women who have ‘male genitalia’ in women’s prisons.

The latest data from the Ministry of Justice shows there are 230 transgender prisoners out of a prison population of 78,058.

Of these 230 prisoners, 168 identified as trans women, 42 as trans men, 13 as non-binary and seven identified in a different way or did not provide a response.

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