Scotland’s Justice Secretary has said there are now safeguards in place to stop trans prisoners with a history of violence against women being put in women's prisons.
Angela Constance made the comments as she was shown around the £85.7 million HMP Stirling on Thursday, with the women-only facility set to start housing people from the summer. HMP Stirling will replace HMP Cornton Vale - where double rapist Isla Bryson was controversially sent after being convicted. Bryson was later transferred to the male estate.
The prison will be home to about 100 inmates, and those behind the Stirling facility said it has been designed with a trauma-informed approach, which takes account of gender, to better help rehabilitate those who are sent there.
It will replace HMP Cornton Vale, which was the centre of national media attention this year after double rapist Isla Bryson, 35, was sent to the prison after being convicted.
But, on Thursday, Ms Constance said that “right now we have very important safeguards in place” to protect women in jails.
“That means that no transgender prisoner with a history of violence or sexual offending against women can be placed in the women’s estate,” she said.
“We will always continue to review safeguards because the Scottish Prison Service has a responsibility to the safety and wellbeing of all prisoners, including their staff.”
Bryson, who raped two women when known as Adam Graham, was in the women-only prison for two days before being moved to HMP Edinburgh after uproar.
Concerns have also been raised about where Andrew Miller, 53, who last week admitted abducting a primary school aged girl while dressed as a woman before sexually assaulting her, will serve a sentence.
First Minister Humza Yousaf last week said that Miller, who is in the process of transitioning, is being held in the male prison estate.
HMP Stirling, which will also be a young offenders institute, includes areas to support women needing more intensive mental health support, a separation and re-integration unit, a progression unit, a mother and baby unit, and an assessment centre.