Trans Prison Swap on Good Morning Britain

Today’s ITV programme ‘Good Morning Britain’ featured Fair Play woman Dr Nicola Williams, who researched our article on transgender prisoners. During the 13-minute spot, Trans Prison Swap, Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid talked with Nicola and India Willoughby about whether transgender prisoners should be allowed to choose whether they serve their sentence in a male or female jail. The full video is on ITV here: Transgender people could be able to swap prisons if new law is passed.

‘Trans Prison Swap’ – Good Morning Britain


Transgender people could easily swap prisons if new law is passed

Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid discussed potential problems with Nicola Williams and trans TV presenter India Willoughby.

Proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act would make self-diagnosis sufficient to legally change sex. Anyone would just have to fill in an online form and pay a small fee to legally change sex. We’re already seeing transgender males (trans women) transferring to women’s prisons. Some of these inmates are extremely violent rapists, who have caused problems for the women in prison.

Trans Prison Swap on Good Morning Britain. Dr Nicola Williams discusses transgender women in prison with Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid.
Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid with Dr Nicola Williams

Some examples discussed on the programme are murderer Paris Green (previously Peter Laing), who had to be moved out of two women’s prisons for sexually interfering with the inmates, and double rapist Jessica Winfield (Martin Ponting). He started molesting inmates almost immediately after transferring to a women’s prison. He has now been segregated.

Serial rapist, child molester and murderer Ian Huntley (the Soham murders), now called Lian, says he wants to change gender so he can live in a women’s prison.

The women’s prison population is very small – about 4,000 – and their offender profile is very different to that of male prisoners. Most women prisoners have been convicted of non-violent offences (84%). They are also a vulnerable group, with 46% known to be victims of domestic violence and 54% having histories of childhood trauma including sexual abuse. Just a few hundred violent, dominant males among them could be highly disruptive and dangerous.

Even India could see a problem

Trans Prison Swap on Good Morning Britain. Dr Nicola Williams discussing transgender women in prison with India Willoughy.
Nicola (left) and India (right) did not agree on most things

India drew a distinction between genuine transgender prisoners who get a medical diagnosis and have completed two years “living as a woman” – and presumably had bottom surgery – compared to prisoners who would take advantage of the new law to declare themselves female, after which they can transfer to the female estate. (India has had full “reassignment” surgery.)

India said: I have immense sympathy when it comes down to sex offenders being transferred who are not going down the traditional transitioning route. For me it comes down to the doctors and the psychologists. 

Nine out of 10 trans-identifying males (trans women) still have intact and working male genitalia.

This is obviously a massive issue when we’re talking about transgender males being legally entitled to go anywhere there are women and girls, and to share live-in accommodation and showers with females.


Trans Prison Swap on Good Morning Britain. Dr Nicola Williams discussed transgender women in prison with Piers Morgan, Susanna Reid and India Willoughy.
Dr Nicola Williams on Good Morning Britain, “Trans Prison Swap”, 21 November 2017

Piers and Susanna covered this issue with fair balance; we hope it has helped to inform people about some of the pitfalls of gender self-ID.

We would like the government to collate proper information about transgender people in UK prisons. It’s pretty shocking that Nicola and her colleagues had to dig out the data from various sources. Public policy should not be developed without solid information and impact assessments.