âI am not persuaded that the law should be change to require prisoners who identify as female, but retain male anatomy, must be placed in womenâs prisons,â she has written to Rainbow Wellington, in response to its questions on the issue.
It comes just a few weeks after she told Parliament that âa man who is transgender, but pre-surgery, is still a manâ.
Tolley has been under pressure over a Corrections Department policy to house transgender prisoners based on their sex at birth, unless they have had full gender reassignment surgery.
It follows a recommendation from the Ombudsman that consideration should be given for transwomen who have had not had full surgery to be placed in a womenâs prison, if that is their wish.
However Tolley has not changed her mind, telling Rainbow Wellington âit is not clear that such a change would be in the best interests of transgender prisoners or of the female prisoners with whom they would be co-located.â
She says there would be risks in putting âanatomically male transgender prisonersâ in a womenâs prison. âThese would include both risks of violence to the transgender prisoners, if their presence was unacceptable to some other prisoners, and risks to the safety and welfare of the female prisoners. Many female prisoners have been victims of sexual abuse, and these women, in particular, may feel unsafe if anatomically male prisoners share their accommodation.â
Tolley says all prisoners are treated with humanity and respect.