Protest over Jenny Swift’s death in Doncaster prison
Transgender woman Jenny Swift was found dead at HMP Doncaster in December
A protest has taken place outside a men’s prison where a transgender woman from Merseyside died.
Jenny Swift, from Seaforth, was found dead in her HMP Doncaster cell on December 30, sparking an investigation by the prison watchdog.
She was facing allegations that she stabbed a man in a house in the Doncaster area.
Jenny was charged with attempted murder as Jonathan, her previous name, and remanded at men’s Category B prison HMP Doncaster following her arrest. She is thought to have requested a place in a woman’s prison.
Yesterday’s protest outside HMP Doncaster was organised by No Prisons Manchester, Action for Trans Health and the Queer Agenda Sheffield.
In a joint statement they said: “The protest is planned to coincide with Trans Prisoner Day of Action and Solidarity, an annual international event protesting the treatment of trans and non-binary prisoners.
The groups say that sending trans prisoners to the “wrong gender facilities” causes “extreme psychological distress and loss of dignity, as well as putting them at risk of violence by other prisoners”.
Lisa Severn, who took part in the protest, told The ECHO: “It was noisy and good natured but people were really angry at the extra punishment given to Jenny Swift because she was trans.”
Ms Swift was accused of stabbing Eric Flanagan inside a house in the Doncaster area in November 2015. He died a week later, but the charge had not been upgraded to murder at the time of her death.
Tragically new guidelines came into place on January 1, just two days after her death – that suggested more weight should be given to an inmate’s wishes on where in the prison system they should be sent.
A close friend of Ms Swift contact the ECHO after the death. The friend, who did not want to be named, said that she had been on female hormones for three years at the time of her arrest and alleged she had struggled to get them once in prison.
She described her as “strong” and said she was capable of serving time in a men’s prison, but only if she was able to continue her treatment.
After her death the Prison Service said that an investigation had been launched by the prisons watchdog.
Their statement read: “HMP Doncaster prisoner Jenny Swift was found unresponsive in her cell at 00.40am on Friday December 30. Prison staff and paramedics attempted CPR but she was pronounced dead at 1.10am. As with all deaths in custody, there will be an independent investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.”