A transgender male to female prisoner at New Hall jail, in Wakefield, is accused of sexually assaulting four female inmates at her West Yorkshire prison just days after she was jailed. When she was sent to prison she had not yet had gender reassignment surgery, and was sent to a woman's jail on the basis of her identifying herself as a female. She is said to have launched her first assault within a week of her arrival at prison, and a source at New Hall is said to have described the prisoner as ‘visibly aroused’ when she allegedly assaulted the first inmate. One of her alleged victims, who she was apparently friends with, claims she stood next to her, touching her arm while her erect penis was visible from the top of her trousers. Another alleged victim claims the prisoner made inappropriate comments about oral sex before giving her a bear hug. A third claims she was kissed on the neck.
During her initial sentencing, the judge decided to send her to New Hall on the basis that she said she had been living as a woman for more than two years, but since the accusations of assault she has been moved out of the female jail and into a Category B men’s jail according to The Sun. At last count, in November 2016, Ministry of Justice published official statistics that showed there were 70 transgender prisoners in 33 of the 123 public and private prisons in England and Wales. This reportedly increased to 125 transgender prisoners in England and Wales at the end of March 2017. Until January 2016 policy guidelines for England and Wales had stated that prisoners should normally be located in the prison of their gender as recognised by UK law. For transgender prisoners, a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) would normally be necessary for them to be sent to the prison of the gender they were transitioning to, or demonstrated 'sufficient advancement in the gender reassignment process'.
This changed when The Women and Equalities Committee looked at the issue of transgender prisoners as part of their wider report on Transgender Equality. It was reported that the justice system needed to adapt to the changes already made in wider society, where GRCs and medical interventions were not the final say on whether someone was transgender. The new policy needed to ‘take as its starting presumption a wish to respect someone in the gender in which they identify’. Inmates are now located in prisons in accord with their legal gender, but they can face a Transgender Case Board and provide evidence that they live in the gender in which they identify for consideration without the legal paperwork to back it up. Assessments are made on a case by case basis.