More than half of trans inmates have been convicted of a sexual offence

Of the 146 such prisoners in jails across England and Wales, 87 were originally found guilty of a sex crime.

The figures only include people who were born male but identify as female. Those with gender recognition certificates are not included.

Victoria Atkins, Minister of State for the Ministry of Justice, said: “These figures do not include transgender prisoners with gender recognition certificates.

“Information on these individuals will be published early this year.”

Previous convictions are considered as part of the risk assessment when deciding where to house prisoners who identify as female. Of the 146, five have been housed in women’s prisons. The Government confirmed at least one has been convicted of a sex crime.

Dr Nicola Williams, director of Fair Play For Women, said: “We know most of these male-born trans prisoners are currently housed in male prisons but they could be moved to a woman’s prison if a risk assessment considers it safe to do so.

“While the risk assessment ‘considers’ sex offending history, it is not a bar. This is wrong. Women should never be expected to share a prison with a male sex offender.

“It is well established that males commit most sexual crimes. Sexual offending by females is incredibly rare. These figures show that the tendency for males to commit sex crimes remains high, regardless of how they identify. Identifying as a woman doesn’t magically reduce their tendency to commit sex crimes at female levels. “If all these transgender sex offenders got moved into women’s prisons it would almost double the number of sex offenders in women’s prisons. These figures are telling us something important about this group of prisoners and it must not be ignored, no matter how uncomfortable that truth may be to some.”

Dr Kate Coleman, director of Keep Prisons Single Sex, said it is worrying that a prisoner in a women’s prison had been convicted of a sex offence. She said: “The MoJ insists that their risk assessment processes keep women in prison safe.

“But I believe that a conviction for a sexual offence should automatically exclude a male prisoner from ever being held with women.

“I am also concerned that the risk assessment is not adequate.The MoJ doesn’t risk assess male prisoners with a gender recognition certificate using the risk assessment tools for adult men convicted of sexual offences, because they treat them ‘as women in every respect’.”

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “Transgender prisoners make up just 0.2 percent of the prison population. Our approach to managing them was recently confirmed by the High Court to be safe and legal as robust risk assessments are carried out before any move to prison.”

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