CALLS are being made for Scotland to follow Italy and open a jail for transgender prisoners as concerns mount over male born sexual and violent offenders being held in female facilities.

The demand follows a public outcry after a transgender woman, Isla Bryson, was sent to Cornton Vale women’s prison in Stirling after being convicted of two rapes.

A report published in 2012 found that many of Cornton Vale's prisoners are highly vulnerable.

Bryson was moved to HMP Edinburgh on Thursday following the backlash. But it was reported yesterday a second transgender woman Tiffany Scott - dubbed one of Scotland's most dangerous prisoners and convicted of an attack on four prison warders and a nurse - could be moved to Cornton Vale this year.

The Scottish Prison Service essentially operates a system which takes account of which gender a prisoner identifies as in addition to taking into account the prisoner's wishes and risk issues in deciding where he or she is detained while awaiting sentence or after conviction.

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Marion Calder, co-director of For Women Scotland, an organisation opposed to the Gender Recognition Reform Bill (GRRB), passed by Holyrood last year which makes it easier for people to change their legal gender through the process of self-declaration, said she did not support any prisoners born a male being held in women’s jails.

“Males should never be moved into women only spaces,” she said.

“I think a sensible provision would be having a third space for transwomen prisoners. Italy has done this. Italy has created a trans prison.”

According to the most recent Scottish Prison Service figures, published in September, there are 15 transgender prisoners in custody, 11 transwomen and 4 transgender men.

Of the 11 transwomen six are in male prisons and five in women’s prisons. Of the four transgender men, three are in women’s prisons while one is in a male prison.

Ms Calder said as the number of transwomen prisoners is small rather than a separate jail, another option could be to have a separate wing for transwomen prisoners.

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She said such a unit should be attached to a male prison rather than a female one arguing that if it was a women’s prison there was a risk the offender could come into contact with biological women as many services in prisons are shared.

The Herald on Sunday asked her whether in her view the transwomen could then be at risk from male prisoners if they were to come into contact with them during common work or leisure activities.

“Well, that would be for the prison service to manage. I have heard multiple times over the past week from the First Minister that they risk assess well, so this would be a risk assessment issue,” she said.

Italy opened one of the world’s first prisons for transgender inmates in 2010 after converting a former women’s prison.

The prison, at Pozzale, near Florence, is believed to hold around 30 prisoners who mainly have convictions for drug-related offences and prostitution.

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Gay rights groups in Italy welcomed the move at the time. Until it opened transgender prisoners were located in women’s prisons where they were often segregated.

According to reports, the prison has its own library, recreation centre, football pitch and agricultural land which produces olive oil and wine. Inmates also have their own cell and are given a personal development plan.

Bryson was found guilty of raping one women in 2016 and a second in 2019, as a man known as Adam Graham following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old was moved out of Cornton Vale on Thursday following a backlash against the decision and was transferred to HMP Edinburgh.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed Bryson would not serve the sentence at a women’s prison. She said she agreed with the head of Rape Crisis Scotland, who said: “I don’t see how it is possible to have a rapist within a female prison.”

However, Ms Calder said she was concerned that there may be other transwomen prisoners in Cornton Vale who had been convicted of sexual and violent offences.

It was reported yesterday that Scott - who stalked a 13-year-old girl while known as Andrew Burns - has gained approval for transfer to a women's jail.

In 2010, Scott, while still Burns, attacked a nurse while escaping from a Cheshire hospital while under detention, throwing roof tiles at police during a siege on the hospital roof. In 2013 Burns, was sentenced to 14 months for stalking a 13-year-old girl from a cell at Polmont Prison, near Falkirk, by sending letters.

Ash Regan, a SNP MSP who resigned as a government minister in protest over the self-identification reforms in the GRRB, yesterday expressed her outrage over Scott's possible move. Ms Regan was among nine SNP MSPs who rebelled against the government and did not support the bill.

She wrote on Twitter: "Tiffany Scott - formerly Andrew Burns, one of the most dangerous prisoners in Scotland has gained approval to be moved to the women’s prison estate. Scott has attacked female prison officers and stalked a child from prison. No men should be placed in a women’s prison."

Scottish Conservative equalities spokeswoman Rachael Hamilton called the First Minister to intervene.

She said: “The fact that such a violent and dangerous criminal is set to be transferred to a women’s prison is absolutely appalling.

“It is clear that Tiffany Scott continues to present a grave risk to the safety of any women that come in contact with them – even trained prison staff. The idea that this violent individual may soon have access to scores of vulnerable women within our prison estate is truly repellent.

“Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly tried to reassure the Scottish public that the Scottish Prison Service’s risk assessment would protect women from predatory men, yet the process is clearly not fit for purpose if this dangerous offender has been approved for transfer to a women’s jail."

Last month it emerged transgender woman Katie Dolatowski, a convicted paedophile, was held in Cornton Vale while awaiting sentence for a separate crime. It is understood Dolatowski is no longer in custody.

Meanwhile, a former Cornton Vale governor Rhona Hotchkiss said Ms Sturgeon had exposed prison bosses to legal action with her “off the hoof” prohibition on rapists going to women’s jails.

Ms Hotchkiss said the First Minister had effectively created a new category of trans woman by intervening to remove Bryson from Cornton Vale.

Ms Sturgeon is reportedly now considering a formal directive banning trans women from the female prison estate. Ms Hotchkiss said that the First Minister's intervention exposed a flaw in the GRRB.

“If Nicola Sturgeon really believed trans women are actually women then there would be no barriers to them accessing any female spaces," she told The Times.

"It was quite an astonishing volte-face by Nicola Sturgeon.. At no point over the last four years has she said anything about rapists being kept out of women’s spaces."

An amendment to the GRRB which would prevent those accused of sexual offences from changing their gender until after their trial was voted down by MSPs during the final stage of the bill in December. The bill has now been blocked by Scottish Secretary Alister Jack who said it would affect the operation of the UK wide Equality Act.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “There are currently no plans for a separate prison unit for transgender women prisoners in Scotland.

“Decisions by the Scottish Prison Service 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.”