Then go by how long the person has lived as a woman. There are precisely ZERO examples of a cis man living as a woman full time and/or going through medical transition in order to pretend to be a woman or sneak into women’s spaces — it’s a myth that comes from TERFs and also from the right that that happens. If the person has never shown any previous desire of wanting to transition, then that would definitely be a red flag. But has it ever actually happened?
Separate units have been considered, but the worry is that they would actually *increase* brutality by guards.
And “crime serious enough to be in prison”. You do understand that that includes marijuana use, right? I will acknowledge that the UK has far fewer problems with people in prison who simply shouldn’t be there than the US, where the justice system is a serious mess. (Understand as a side note that I’m a prison reform advocate who thinks a lot fewer people should BE in prison in the first place).
But even in the UK, not everyone who is in prison is a serious PHYSICAL danger to others. Looking at the statistics I found, the largest population is people with multiple theft convictions, many of whom are non-violent. (Note that I’ve already said I DON’T feel that people convicted of rape or sexual assault against women should be in female gen pop. That includes cis women…and don’t say it doesn’t happen, because it does. Rare, yes, but it *happens*. And pedophiles should not be in units where there are mothers with young children, regardless of gender).
So, part of the overall solution is reducing custodial sentences in general. But right now, trans women are in very real ACTUAL danger, and there are people who want to leave them there and/or make it worse to protect cis women from a danger which is mostly theoretical. Attacks against fellow inmates by trans women are so rare they make the news…as I said, I can only confirm one, and her being in female gen pop was an acknowledged failure of the system.
Attacks against trans women in prison are so routine nobody hears about them.
The status quo is very definitely not the right way for things to be, especially in the US where more non-violent people are in prison.