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Jury rules it was 'right' for dead trans woman to be sent to a male jail

This comes even though prison guidelines state a trans person should be sent to a prison that corresponds with their gender identity

Jury rules it was 'right' for dead trans woman to be sent to a male jail
Vikki Thompson was found dead in a male prison

A jury has found it is right for a transgender woman to be sent to a male jail.

Vikki Thompson, a 21-year-old, was found hanged in her cell at Leeds prison on 13 November 2015 after warning several people she would ‘leave in a box’.

In January 2015, Thompson was sent to prison after breaching an order relating to a shoplifting conviction and failing to attend two probation appointments.

And shortly after arriving, Thompson complained of bulling. A card was sent under her door addressing her as ‘wifey’, inviting her to spend the night in his cell.

She requested to be placed in a vulnerable inmates cell, and she was put on suicide watch.

Shortly before her death, her risk levels were downgraded and she was checked on only once an hour.

Between these hourly checks, she hanged herself. Only one officer was assigned to her wing at the time, working overtime after his day shift, and had dealt with numerous fire alarms that evening.

The jury found it was ‘right’ for her to be sent to a male prison because she did not have a Gender Recognition Certificate. Her partner and a nurse insisted she should be in a female jail.

Prison guidelines state a trans person should be sent to a prison that corresponds with their gender identity. It is feared this ruling may set a precedent.

The jury said Thompson had been ‘let down by various departments including the NHS,, Leeds community healthcare trust, the prison service and also by her family.

‘Regardless of whether Vikki was feeling high or low in moods and appeared to be coping in prison, more attention should have been paid to her as a transgender woman with mental health issues and a history of self-harming and suicide threats,’ the jury added.

‘On the night of Vikki’s death these observations were inadequate, [and] although this is no fault of one individual, more regular observations with a more determined effort to make contact with Vikki may have prevented her death.’

Thompson changed her name at 17. When she asked for gender reassignment, doctors told her she needed to tackle her drug and alcohol problems before the surgery. Because of this, she never applied for the gender recognition certificate.

The inquest heard how Thompson had certain accommodations, such as allowing to shower alone and shaving regularly. While she was reprimanded for fashioning her prison jumper into a crop top, she could wear a bra stuffed with socks.

Of all UK prisons, HMP Leeds has the second highest number of self-inflicted deaths.


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