Transgender woman dies in all-male prison despite new government ‘safeguards’
A transgender woman has been found dead in an all-male prison, just two months after a government overhaul of the system supposedly introduced safeguards for trans prisoners.
The UK government had promised a review in 2015 of the way trans people in prisons are dealt with, after two female prisoners died within weeks of each other while being held in all-male facilities.
The review finished in November, with the Ministry of Justice introducing ‘safeguards’ to ensure that transgender people would not be put at risk in prisons inconsistent with their gender.
But despite the safeguards, a transgender inmate was found dead last inside HMP Doncaster in South Yorkshire.
Jenny Swift, who identified as female, died on December 30, less than two months after she was sent to the men-only prison.
An investigation into the death is ongoing. Authorities believe the death was a suicide.
A friend of Swift told the Sheffield Star that she grown depressed after denied hormones behind bars – despite the government review specifying all trans prisoners should receive “items that enable their gender expression”.
The friend alleged: “She kept asking for the hormones and they said she would get them but she never did. I phoned up and explained that she needed them too.
“Jenny said that not having them was making her legs shake, making her feel sad and ill – she said it was like coming off drugs. It made her miserable.”
The Ministry of Justice confirmed it is aware of the incident.
The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman said: “We are sorry to be informed of the death of Ms Swift at HMP Doncaster, and can confirm that an independent investigation has begun.
“We will be in contact with Ms Swift’s family and will try to address any questions they may have.
“Our independent investigation will aim to identify the full circumstances of the death and whether there were any failings in Ms Swift’s care.
“Where possible we will identify lessons to be learned and make recommendations to help prevent similar deaths in future.
“We also share any findings with the Coroner to assist with their enquiries.”