Men’s prison where a trans woman killed herself receives criticism during inquest

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Transgender prisoner Vikki Thompson was found dead in her cell at HMP Leeds back in 2015. The court holding the inquest has heard that the prison required repairs and had serious problems with staff. The 21-year-old was found dead in her cell in the dark on 13 November 2015. LGBT rights activists were irritated about it claiming that it was a terrible mistake to send a trans woman to male prison. Speaking at the inquest, the officer who found her said he had been offered a night shift after working the day but found that he was the only staff member patrolling the wing. He described that the cell, in the wing which houses the most vulnerable prisoners, had no lights, meaning healthcare professionals and guards were forced to use torches to try to revive her. Jonathan Stanfield, the prison guard who found her, said that there should have been two people on the evening shift on that wing. The guards are not allowed to enter cells, but noticing Ms Thompson unconscious he could not just leave her there, his colleague Paul Shortall appeared there as well. Robert Steele, the boyfriend of Thompson, said he had received letters from the inmate saying she wanted to be housed in a women’s prison, and that she said she might “do something silly”. One prison officer also cried in the inquest, saying that she had seen Thompson two days before her death. “She seemed really settled on A wing,” the officer, Sinead Dennis, said. She was happy. She asked me about the colour of my hair, which was green, and she talked about going to secondhand shops.” But in a few days she was gone because the world kept trying to put her in a wrong place.

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