Canada's prisons department has released an alarming study revealing that nearly half of the country's male-to-female trans inmates previously committed sexual offences.
Research from Correctional Service Canada (CSC) shows that 44% of the nation's trans women detainees have a history of sexual offences, of which 71% committed murder or sex crimes to land in prison.
In recent years, gender has become a more significant concern in Canadian prisons, with reports of violence and sexual coercion involving "gender diverse" inmates.
A CSC research brief previously found that "gender-diverse" persons engage in sexually coercive and violent (SCV) incidents in prison. When asked how many gender-diverse persons were involved in the 39 offender-on-offender incidents in 2021/22, CSC would not release the numbers citing "privacy concerns."
They studied the 99 gender-diverse inmates in the prison system between 2017 and 2020 for its 68-page report called an Examination of Gender-Diverse Offenders.
It found that 61 were male-to-female transitioners, with an average age of 43. About half of the trans inmates were indigenous Canadians.
In November 2021, the federal government reported 93 "gender-diverse" inmates, most of whom reside in male facilities. Indigenous Canadians comprised 69% of instigators and 57% of victims.
Most of them had been convicted of violent offences, including murders, sex crimes, robberies, and assaults, in which women and children typically suffered death or severe harm.
Heather Mason, a former Canadian detainee campaigning for traditional single-sex prisons, said, "trans prisoners are more likely to be the most dangerous."
In 2017, Canada started housing trans detainees in facilities that matched their gender identity — not their biological sex.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supported that policy, calling the sex-based placement system "torture," despite a 2017 CSC policy mandating transgender inmates not receive special treatment.
The directive reads: "Pre-operative male-to-female offenders with gender dysphoria will be held in men's institutions, and pre-operative female-to-male offenders with gender dysphoria will be held in women's institutions."
However, Trudeau permitted transgender inmates to serve their sentences according to their gender identity.
Since 2022, requests from trans inmates to switch facilities have been reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Among Canada's historical male-to-female trans detainees is Catherine Lynn, who, while identifying as male in 1995, murdered an upstairs neighbour and had sex with her corpse.
Lynn was reportedly housed at Kitchener, Ontario's Grand Valley Institution women's prison.
Likewise, Adam Laboucan, a pedophile who raped a three-month-old infant, was granted permission to move to a women's ward at the Fraser Valley Institution after transitioning in prison to a woman, Tara Desousa.
Maxime Bernier, leader of the conservative People's Party of Canada, called the policy "insane."
"These rapist men pretending to be women are sent to women's prisons and allowed to assault more women," he tweeted.
The Macdonald-Laurier Institute uncovered that 80% of Canadians believe it's either "somewhat important" or "very important" to segregate prisoners based on biological sex.
Canadians over 55 valued segregation the most, while the youngest group, aged 18 to 34, appreciated segregation the least.
The poll comes after recent data from the CSC revealed that nearly half (44%) of male-to-female transgender inmates went to prison for sexual offences.
A quarter of those between 18 and 34 expressed in the poll that sex-segregating was "somewhat unimportant" or "not important at all."
Given four answers, 68% of young adults did not select "it's very important" when asked if the federal government should separate male and female prisoners into different facilities.
In April, the Canadian Human Rights Commission said Canada needs to address SCV in federal prisons for women. The commission said it is "deeply concerned" by the lack of action in handling SCV and abuse in federal prisons.
A national study on SCV will begin in early 2023 and will likely be completed within a year.