A transgender woman has been sent to Scotland’s most violent prison after being charged with robbery and assault.
Katelyn Findlay, 18, is being held at Cornton Vale Prison after admitting to robbing a man and assaulting three police officers.
The notorious Cornton Vale is Scotland’s only all-women prison, which two years ago was revealed to have more fights and assaults per prisoner than any male prison north of the border.
In the past it has been criticised for its overcrowding and high rates of suicide.
Findlay, who was sentenced to six months yesterday, had already spent a month in Cornton Vale on remand.
Her solicitor Robin White told the court she had experienced a “difficult” time in the jail because she was trans and was desperate not to go back there.
He said: “This is her first time in custody and it’s an experience which has not been particularly good for her.
“She has had a very difficult time in Cornton Vale given her present circumstances and it’s not a situation she wants to find herself in again.”
But the court refused the request as Findlay had been an “active participant” in a robbery.
Findlay admitted robbing a man of his house keys and a mobile phone Sim card on 12 April.
She also admitted resisting arrest and shouting, swearing, spitting at three police officers on the same date.
Colin MacFarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland, said: “We’d expect Cornton Vale prison to act very sensitively with this issue.
“A person who is transsexual doesn’t need to have any surgery to obtain a gender recognition certificate and be recognised legally in their acquired gender.”
A Scottish Prison Service spokesman said: “We have established policies in place for such occasions.”
Between 1997 and 2002, eleven women killed themselves while serving sentences at Cornton Vale
In 2010, Brigadier Hugh Munro declared the prison in a “state of crisis”, citing overcrowding, two-hour waits for the toilet, cold meals, lack of activities and a deep problem of prisoner boredom which was impeding rehabilitation.
In 2006, 98% of the inmates had addiction issues; 80% had problems with mental health and 75% were survivors of abuse.