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UK

Government broadens prisons review after trans women deaths in male prisons

Nick Duffy December 8, 2015

The UK government has ordered a broader review of the treatment of trans prisoners – after two women were found dead in male prisons.

Inquests have open into the successive deaths of Vikki Thompson at HMP Leeds, and Joanne Latham at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes.

Both prisoners were being kept in male prisons at the time of their death – despite current policies making provisions for trans people to be assigned to the correct facilities for their present gender.

Following the deaths, justice and equalities minister Caroline Dinenage this week announced that a government review into the issue has broadened in scope to cover the entire justice system.

Speaking in the Commons, she said: “We take absolutely every death in custody very seriously. The management and care of transgender people in prison is complex and something the government takes very seriously.

“NOMS is currently undertaking a review of the relevant prison service instruction to ensure that it does provide an appropriate balance between the needs of the individual and the responsibility to manage the risk and safeguard all prisoners.

“This review, I can announce today, will be widened to include what improvements we can make across prisons, probation and youth justice regarding the future shape of services to trans prisoners and offenders.

“This review will engage with relevant stakeholders, and in addition, Peter Dawson from the Prison Reform Trust and Dr Jay Stewart from Gendered Intelligence will act as independent advisers to this review, which we expect to conclude next year.”

It was the fourth time that trans prisoners have been raised in Parliament in two months – this time by Fareham MP Suella Fernandes.

The Tory MP had asked: “On the 27th November a transgender prisoner killed herself while serving in a male jail.

“What is the government planning to do to address concern about another tragic death by a member of this vulnerable group of people?”

The government has previously ducked calls from peers to use emergency measures to identify trans prisoners and move them to the correct facility.

Comments have been closed for legal reasons.

More: Caroline Dinenage, Crime, Joanne Latham, LGBT, prison, prisoner, Trans, Transgender, vikki thompson

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