UK : watchdog calls for action over transgender prison deaths

Ombudsman says jails in England and Wales should be more flexible and proactive in managing such inmates.
The recent deaths of several transgender prisoners underline the need for jails to be more flexible and proactive in managing such inmates, a watchdog has said.

Nigel Newcomen, the prisons and probation ombudsman, said his office had historically received few complaints from prisoners identifying themselves as transgender and has investigated relatively few deaths in custody.

However, the numbers have been climbing more recently, he said. “These events made the need to address this issue all the more pressing,” he added.

He published a bulletin on lessons that could be learned from investigations into five deaths and 33 complaints between 2008 and August 2016. There have been other cases since. An investigation has been launched after Jenny Swift, an inmate at HMP Doncaster, an all-male prison, was found dead in her cell on 30 December.

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