An alleged sex offender who was born male but now identifies as female is being detained in the women’s prison in Limerick, the minister for justice has confirmed.
It is believed to be the first time that a transgender prisoner has been accommodated by the Irish Prison Service (IPS). She was first held in the Dóchas Centre in Dublin, but has since been transferred to Limerick.
The inmate was born male but is now recognised as female under the Gender Recognition Act 2015. It is understood that she has not undergone any transgender surgery, nor is she receiving hormonal therapy.
However, she was in possession of a gender recognition certificate by the time her case came before the court last July, and is now detained on remand with other female prisoners.
It is understood that the prisoner has been assigned a high level of monitoring and supervision in the interests of protecting both her and her fellow detainees.
“The Irish Prison Service must accept all prisoners into custody into whatever prison a judge orders,” said Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan in a response to a parliamentary question from Aontú TD Peadar Tóibín.
“Upon committal, all prisoners are brought to the reception/committal unit of the prison, where there is an opportunity to provide personal and physical details as part of the regular committal interview process,” he explained.
The assessment of the prisoner’s needs may require the prison governor to consider the biological gender, legal gender, gender identity, transgender, gender expression, sexual orientation or gender recognition legislation.
”In such cases, the governor can make recommendations regarding the placement of the inmate within the prison system with regard to protection issues, security issues, available accommodation, and the healthcare needs of the prisoner.
A spokesperson for the IPS said it cannot comment on individual prisoners, but that all detainees are accommodated in accordance with judges’ orders.
It has been reported that the transgender inmate had been given protection statusby the prison service, and is accompanied by two officers at all times while in the common areas of the detention facility.