Trans Health & Justice

Dr Jon Bashford is doing work on how the health and social care needs of trans offenders are being met in the criminal justice system. This work will lead to a report for NHS England, who are responsible for commissioning health services in large parts of the criminal justice system.

The project involves a review of the literature; interviews with professional stakeholders from across the health and criminal justice system and also talking to trans people themselves.

It has been estimated that there are between 300,000 to 500,000 trans people in the UK, but as trans status is often not recorded in population surveys it is very hard to have accurate estimates.

Although trans individuals are more likely to be victims of crime, research has found that trans people are over-represented in the prison population – more than twice the number expected with the available estimates of the size of the trans population in the UK as a whole (Poole et al 2002). Researchers have also identified the need for transgender people to be included in diversity policies in the criminal justice system and for training on transgender issues for probation and prison officers (Whittle et al, 2007).

Trans people experience high levels of isolation and poor mental health (Williams, et al. 2016) and more than half of trans people are thought to have self-harmed at some point (McNeil et al. 2012).

Recent suicides of trans prisoners in the UK have raised concerns about the health, particularly mental health needs, of trans prisoners. While much of the concerns focus on where trans people are placed in the prison estate, for example in male of female establishments, there is also a need for greater understanding about the particular health needs of trans prisoners.

If you are a trans person who has been arrested by the police, been taken to court for a criminal offence or been in prison and you would like to help with this project by sharing your experiences, you can talk to Dr Bashford in confidence – no one will be identified individually in any reports of this work.

It is important that the views and experiences of trans people are included in this work and anything you can say about your experiences will be valuable.

You can contact Dr Bashford by email:


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