21-year-old Vicky Thompson warned friends that she would kill herself if she wasn’t transferred
A transgender woman has been found dead in an all-male prison, after warning friends that she would kill herself if she was ever sent there.
21-year-old Vicky Thompson, who was serving a 12-month sentence for an undisclosed crime at Leeds’ Armley prison, apparently identified as a woman since her mid-teens. Despite this, authorities refused to have her moved to a female prison, claiming that, because she had not undergone full gender reassignment surgery, it was not a legal possibility. Her body was found unresponsive on Friday evening.
“Staff and paramedics attempted resuscitation but she was pronounced dead at 21:10 GMT,” announced a spokesperson for the prison yesterday. “As with all deaths in custody there will be an investigation by the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.” The situation is not being treated as suspicious.
The news comes just weeks after another trans woman, Tara Hudson, raised the same issue after she was also put in an all-male prison. Fortunately, she was eventually transferred after a lengthy and well-publicised campaign.
“Prisoners are normally placed according to their legally recognised gender,” explained Caroline Dinenage, junior minister for women, equalities and family justice. “However, the guidelines allow some room for discretion and senior prison staff will review the circumstances of every case in consultation with medical and other experts in order to protect the physical and emotional well being of the person concerned along with the safety and wellbeing of other prisoners.”
According to Dinenage, the government is currently looking into the issue, with a revised policy expected to come into force early next year.