Isla Bryson case review findings to be published this week – Sturgeon

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The findings of an urgent review into the handling of the case of a double rapist placed in a women’s prison will be published this week, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The review was ordered by Scottish Justice Secretary Keith Brown in the wake of public outcry after Isla Bryson was initially housed in segregation at Cornton Vale prison near Stirling.

Bryson – who will be sentenced later this month for raping two women while she was a man – was then moved to the men’s estate.

The review was due to be completed by the Scottish Prison Service last Friday, and the First Minister confirmed on Thursday that Mr Brown has now received the report.

Nicola Sturgeon in Holyrood
Nicola Sturgeon was speaking during First Minister’s Questions on Thursday (Jane Barlow/PA)

“The Cabinet Secretary confirmed – I believe he confirmed in this chamber – that he will update the Criminal Justice Committee this week, Parliament rises today for this week and both the Cabinet Secretary and the chief executive of the Scottish Prison Service Teresa Medhurst will actually attend the Justice Committee on February 22.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross urged the First Minister to commit to publishing the full report, as opposed to just the “findings”.

He said: “The First Minister claims I’m clutching at straws on this – it seems she’s clutching on to this report, because she’s not willing to issue it in full today.

“The report findings, we’re told, will be published at some point, why not today? Why not publish the findings and the full report that your Justice Secretary has had for over 24 hours?”

Mr Ross also questioned the First Minister on the case of Tiffany Scott, who was convicted of stalking a 13-year-old girl while Andrew Burns and had requested to be moved to the female prison estate.

On the day reports of Scott’s request appeared, a Scottish Government pause on the housing of trans prisoners with a history of violence against women in the female estate was put in place.

Douglas Ross in Holyrood
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross urged the First Minister to publish the findings in full (Lesley Martin/PA)

“They said that Scott ‘has used gender recognition as a tool to create as much chaos as possible within the prison system’,” Mr Ross added.

The officer, the Tory leader claimed, continued: “This is a classic example of devious, dangerous individuals who are exploiting this dangerous situation.”

Reports have also claimed that female prison officers have had to carry out strip searches of Scott while in prison, something Mr Ross said was “completely unacceptable”, urging the First Minister to intervene.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Those on the prison estate are dealt with depending on the nature of the crime and the nature of the risk posed and, again, it’s important for reasons of public assurance to underline that as well, and that is demonstrated in the two recent cases that have been cited in the media in recent days and here again today.”

She said the SPS has been dealing with transgender prisoners for “many, many years now” and have been doing so “safely and effectively”, and that the prison service can use technology to search prisoners.

“The SPS is experienced in these matters, I trust their handling of these matters and it’s important that we continue to ensure they are handled appropriately,” the First Minister said.

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