ANGER has been levelled at the Scottish Government after it was reported a transgender prisoner, found guilty of raping two women before she transitioned to a woman, was being held at a women’s prison.

The timing had aligned for the Scottish Conservatives to warn that the SNP-Greens government’s gender recognition reforms were putting female prisoners at risk.

To be clear, a gender recognition certificate is not paramount to prisoners being placed in the estate of their acquired gender.

All the gender recognition reforms do is to open up the process to obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC) to more people by making the process easier and less demeaning for transgender people, through a system of self-ID.

Read more: SNP's Keith Brown refuses to intervene in trans rapist row

Tory MSP Russell Findlay had proposed an amendment to the Bill that would prevent those awaiting trail from being eligible for obtaining a GRC.

But MSPs rejected the move by the narrowest of margins, instead backing plans by Gillian Martin for the ability for the Chief Constable to notify authorities after a “risk assessment” about applicants who are on the sex offenders register.

But the reforms have not come into force and may not do for some years, if ever, after the UK Government moved to block the legislation from becoming law.

The Scottish Prison Service was grilled by a Holyrood committee over safety concerns during the scrutiny of the legislation last


Read more: Scottish prison bosses insist rules in place to stop abuse of gender recognition reforms

MSPs were told that 16 out of 7,409 prisoners as of June last year were transgender – that is 0.2 per cent of prisoners in Scotland.

Crucially, James Kerr, the SPS’s deputy chief executive, told MSPs that holding a GRC is only one of many considerations taken into account when choosing where to place a prisoner.

Mr Kerr added that using risk assessments to decide where prisoners are placeD is “a well-trodden path for the Scottish Prison Service”, adding “there is good experience and expertise across the range of professions that make those decisions”.

He was pressed over whether people could use a GRC to cheat the system, but warned “the GRC is only one aspect of the consideration that we would give to the care and placement of that individual in custody”.

Other issues that are considered include the welfare of other prisoners, access to services, and whether single-cell occupancy will be required.

A convicted rapist potentially being imprisoned in a female jail has caused a lot of alarm.

But as Keith Brown pointed out in Holyrood yesterday, the SPS treats ever prisoner on a case-by-case basis and every placement is risk assessed.

One thing is for sure – the process for issuing a gender recognition certificate, whether through the current UK-wide system or the proposed Scottish updated method, has no bearing on where prisoners are placed.