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Only 11 Trans People Housed in the Right Prison in England and Wales

Jail bars

A Ministry of Justice report released Thursday said there are at least 119 trans women being held in men's prisons in the two U.K. countries.

Only 11 transgender people behind bars in England and Wales are being held in the correct prison for their gender.

A Ministry of Justice report released Thursday said that there are 163 transgender people currently in England and Wales' public and private prisons. The report did not include data on Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Of the 130 trans women identified in the report, 11 are being held in women's prisons, as PinkNews reported. There are no trans men being held in men's prisons.

By contrast, there are 20 trans men being held in women's prisons and 119 trans women being held in men's. Some of the other trans prisoners in both kinds of facilities declined to state their gender, or identified as genderfluid or nonbinary.

More than half of the public and private prisons in England and Wales house at least one trans person, the report stated.

The report also says it's likely underestimating the true number of transgender people in the countries' jails and prisons; earlier numbers have suggested that up to 1,500 incarcerated people are trans. Earlier this year, the United Kingdom opened a unit specifically for transgender people in one of its women's prisons.

Transgender people already face disproportionate levels of violence behind bars.

In the United States, more than one in three trans women have experienced sexual assault when incarcerated.

Being held in the wrong prison for one's gender can expose trans people to even more danger. One study found when transgender women were automatically housed with men in California facilities, they were 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than male prisoners in the same jails or prisons.

Trans people in the U.K. can apply to be housed in a different jail or prison, according to Prison Reform Trust. They are initially placed, however, in facilities that match their legal gender -- regardless of whether that placement is correct.

"Many trans people in prison face particular vulnerabilities in custody, including bullying, discrimination and harassment," a spokesperson for the United Kingdom-based advocacy group Stonewall told PinkNews.

"It's vital that all trans people in prison are treated with dignity and respect, so better training to support prison staff is needed to ensure their needs are met," the spokesperson continued.

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