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Vigil held for trans woman who died in men’s prison

Joe Williams November 22, 2015

A minute’s silence was held for Vicky Thompson earlier today.

A vigil has been held for a trans woman who died after being sent to a male prison in Leeds.

Vicky Thompson, 21, died at Armley jail on Friday. She had told friends she would kill herself if sent to a male prison.

She had been given a 12 month sentence for an as yet unknown conviction, but the sentence was later suspended.

However, Thompson was later made to serve her original 12 month sentence after breaking the terms of her suspended sentence.

Miss Thompson’s partner, Robert Steele, led supporters in holding a minute’s silence earlier today, according to the BBC.

Since his partner’s death, Mr Steele has said that he wants to see changes to the current law.

He told the Guardian: “I would like to see that it doesn’t happen again and that people who are on suicide watches shouldn’t be able to kill themselves.”

“She was put on a wing with people that had sexually abused people, when she had been groomed as a child,” he added.

Following the incident, shadow equalities minister Cat Smith asked an urgent question on the issue in the House of Commons.

She said: “I would like to put on record, on behalf of the Labour Party, our sincere condolences to the family, boyfriend and friends of Vicky Thompson.

“I first raised the issue of Tara Hudson, a young trans woman who was placed in a men’s prison, on the floor of this house on the third of November. It’s a tragedy that within three weeks of that, we are once again discussing the issue of trans prisoners.”

She warned: “At a time when the prison population is increasing, overcrowding is on the rise, and the number of individuals who are coming forward for GRS is also increasing, the issue of placement of transgender prisoners is one that only looks to increase.”

Last month the case of Tara Hudson attracted large scale media attention after transgender activists began a campaign to have her relocated from a men’s prison.

Prisons minister Andrew Selous told MPs that a review of the custody policy in relation to transgender prisoners has been started, and that changes will be implemented.

More: House of Commons, Law, LGBT, prison, suicide, Tara Hudson, Trans, Vicky Thompson

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