The decision to place a transgender rapist in a women’s prison was a “shambles”, its former Governor has said.  

Rhona Hotchkiss, who ran Cornton Vale until 2017, said she would have refused to have Isla Bryson at the prison. 

Bryson, 31, was remanded to the jail in Stirling after being convicted of raping two women when she still identified as a man. The convicted rapist began transitioning from to a woman while awaiting trial. 

Ms Hotchkiss said the row over her detention was an "unnecessary shambles" that could have been avoided with specialist units for transgender inmates. 

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon confirms trans rapist moved to male prison

She told BBC Scotland: "I would have refused to have this person in Cornton Vale, I'm afraid. It just goes against all natural justice. 

"I would have insisted there was no reason for this person to be assessed in Cornton Vale. 

"It's wrong to use segregation when it's not strictly necessary and in my opinion that's what has happened here." 

Bryson, formerly known as Adam Graham, was moved to HMP Edinburgh men's prison on Thursday. 

The Herald:

The move came after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that Bryson would not be allowed to serve her term at Cornton Vale. 

Isla Bryson committed the crimes in Clydebank and Glasgow in 2016 and 2019 while known as Adam Graham. 

The case is believed to be the first time a trans woman has been convicted of raping women in Scotland

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said it considers the risks posed by and to the individual prisoner when deciding where they are sent. 

Ms Hotchkiss, has been a critic of the Scottish government's gender reforms and recently joined the board of Briea’s Place, a women-only support and advocacy service for women who have suffered sexual violence set up by JK Rowling.  

The former prison governor said that Bryson's situation would become a "bigger problem" if the Gender Recognition Reform Bill was enacted. 

The bill has been blocked by the UK government over its potential impact on equality laws that apply across Scotland, England and Wales. 

Ms Hotchkiss said: "If you can get a Gender Recognition Certificate within three months, lots of male prisoners will do it." 

She added: "We need third units for trans people and they should be in male prisons." 

Ms Hotchkiss said it was "simply not acceptable" to allow all trans prisoners to go to a jail matching their gender identity. 

She added: "It's unbalancing rights. They are not considering the rights of women. 

"They are only considering one side of this equation. It seems to me quite wrong." 

The Herald:

HMP Cornton Vale 

Speaking during First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood this week, Ms Sturgeon said a risk assessment was being carried out by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), but she stressed Bryson would not be housed at Cornton Vale. 

She said: “It would not be appropriate for me, in respect of any prisoner, to give details of where they are being incarcerated. 

“But given the understandable public and parliamentary concern in this case, I can confirm to Parliament that this prisoner will not be incarcerated at Cornton Vale women’s prison. 

“I hope that provides assurance to the public.” 

A Scottish Prison Service spokesman said: “Decisions by the SPS as to the most appropriate location to accommodate transgender people are made on an individualised basis, informed by a multi-disciplinary assessment of both risk and need. 

“Such decisions seek to protect both the wellbeing and rights of the individual as well as the welfare and rights of others around them, including staff, in order to achieve an outcome that balances risks and promotes the safety of all, and that is exactly what has happened in this case.” 

READ MORE: Transgender hate crimes rising faster than any other in Scotland

Bryson, previously known as Adam Graham, was on Tuesday found guilty of raping one woman in Clydebank in 2016 and another in Drumchapel, Glasgow, in 2019, following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow. 

Her estranged wife, Shonna Graham, 31, claimed her former partner’s transition was a “sham for attention” and that she is attempting to fool the authorities. 

“Never once did he say anything to me about feeling he was in the wrong body or anything,” Ms Graham told the Daily Mail. 

“I can see why he doesn’t want to be in a prison with loads of big scary men, so he’s come up with this ploy to get himself a much easier sentence.” 

During the court proceedings, Bryson claimed she knew she was transgender at the age of four but did not decide to transition until she was 29, and is currently taking hormones and seeking surgery to complete gender reassignment.