Nicola Sturgeon under fire after another trans prisoner is moved to women’s jail
Nicola Sturgeon is engulfed in a fresh transgender row after it emerged another biologically male prisoner had their move to a women’s prison approved.
Tiffany Scott, formerly known as Andrew Burns, stalked a 13-year-old girl, attacked female staff while held in a men’s prison and has been described as “one of the most menacing people” inside Scottish jails.
The Scottish Tories said on Saturday that the decision to approve the transfer was “absolutely appalling” and poses a “grave risk” to the safety of women, including prison staff.
It comes after Ms Sturgeon was this week forced to u-turn on allowing Isla Bryson, who was convicted of raping two women while named Adam Graham, to be housed in a women’s prison.
Ms Sturgeon announced the move following a huge backlash. Bryson, 31, who has not legally changed gender or medically transitioned, was taken to Cornton Vale women’s prison after being convicted of raping two women on Tuesday.
But by Thursday night Ms Sturgeon was forced to announce that Bryson would be moved to a male prison.
The u-turn came less than 24 hours after Keith Brown, Scottish Justice Secretary, had also said ministers would not interfere with the process.
It has now emerged that Scott, from Kinglassie, Fife, has been approved to move to a women’s jail after identifying as female. The transfer had previously been refused but senior managers reversed the decision in recent weeks, according to the Daily Record, which first reported the case.
The Telegraph understands Scott will not be moved to Cornton Vale and the transfer will not be immediate.
Scott has a string of convictions for assaults, vandalisms and making false allegations against prison officers.
While still identifying as Burns, the 31-year-old assaulted a nurse while escaping from a hospital in Cheshire in 2010, and, in 2013, was sentenced to 14 months for stalking a 13-year-old girl from Polmont Prison, Falkirk, by sending letters.
In 2016 Burns came out as transgender and changed name to Tiffany Scott. Scott also reportedly goes by the name Mitzababy, and prison staff were previously told to address Scott as “Mighty Almighty”, or Obi-Wan Kenobi. Scott is not undergoing treatment and has not medically transitioned, it is understood.
Female prison officers allegedly refused to strip-search Scott in 2016, with a prison source at the time complaining to the Daily Record that the “full-time menace... makes it his daily business to be as difficult and awkward as possible”.
Following the recent transfer approval, a source told the newspaper Scott will probably be admitted to HMP Stirling later this year and, initially, held in segregation.
“This will very possibly lead to full integration with the main prison,” they added.
“This highly disturbed prisoner has attacked female staff during time in prison, admitted stalking a young girl and has been one of the most menacing people inside Scottish jails. It’s madness to send her to a women’s jail.”
Rachael Hamilton MSP, Scottish Conservative equalities spokesperson, 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.”
She added that, despite Sturgeon’s assurances, the Scottish Prison Service’s (SPS’s) risk assessment “is clearly not fit for purpose if this dangerous offender has been approved for transfer to a women’s jail”.
“Nicola Sturgeon has already u-turned under public pressure to belatedly remove double-rapist Isla Bryson from a women’s jail, she must now intervene to block the transfer of this violent individual before it takes place, or knowingly risk the safety of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable women,” said Ms Hamilton.
Put transfer of trans inmates ‘on hold’
Russell Findlay, Scottish Tory justice spokesman, said all transfers of trans inmates to female prisons must be put on hold.
SPS guidance published in 2014 stated that a prisoner’s accommodation should “reflect the gender in which the person in custody is currently living”.
The policy is currently being reviewed and the process is “nearing completion,” according to the Scottish Government.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The placement of prisoners is an operational matter for the Scottish Prison Service who use comprehensive individualised risk assessments to inform decisions, such as the appropriate location of transgender people in custody.”
An SPS spokesperson said they would not comment on individual cases.
The spokesperson added: “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.
“Where there are any concerns about any risks posed by an individual, either to themselves or others, we retain the ability to keep them separate from the mainstream population until an agreed management plan is in place.”