Trans woman Tiffany Scott dies in custody at high-security Scottish prison

The front of the HMP Grampian, with glass pane windows and a brick building.

Trans prisoner Tiffany Scott has died in prison in Scotland at the age of 32.

Scotland Prison Service (SPS) officials confirmed she died on Thursday (29 February), at HMP Grampian, in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.

An SPS spokesperson added: “With each death in custody, Police Scotland are advised and the matter reported to the Procurator Fiscal.” An inquiry will be held in “due course.”

Scott, who was initially jailed while classed as a juvenile, was serving an indefinite sentence under an order for lifelong restriction for a number of offences, including stalking a 13-year-old girl by sending letters while serving a prison sentence.

She was also convicted of attacking a nurse in Cheshire in 2010. Charges relating to an alleged attack on a nurse and a prison officer in 2017, were dropped. But later that year, Falkirk Sheriff Court was locked down after Scott was brought in for sentencing for a string of offences, including a series of violent incidents at Glenochil Prison, in Tullibody, Clackmannanshire.

Scott became the subject of controversy last year after she asked to be confined in an all-women’s prison. The request was denied by justice secretary MSP Keith Brown, who also announced an urgent review into the government’s handling of transgender prisoners, including rapist Isla Bryson.

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Nicola Sturgeon, who was Scotland’s first minister at the time, reversed a decision to hold Bryson in a female prison in early 2023. “I can confirm to parliament that this prisoner will not be incarcerated at Cornton Vale women’s prison,” she said.

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

Updated guidance from the SPS, which came into effect on Monday (26 February), requires prisons to recall trans women who have a history of crime against other women to be housed in an all-male prison.

A clause in the policy allows an exemption if “compelling evidence” suggests they do not present an “unacceptable risk of harm to those in the women’s prison”.

HMP Grampian was opened in March 2014 and is the first purpose-built community facing prison within Scotland, capable of housing over 500 individuals: both male and female adults.

Ministry of Justice data from last year shows there are at least 230 transgender prisoners out of a UK prison population of 78,058, with 168 identifying as trans women and 42 as trans men. Thirteen are non-binary.