A transgender woman has become the second trans prisoner in the space of a month to apparently take their own life while serving time in a male jail in England.
Joanne Latham, 38, from Nottingham, died in Woodhill prison in Milton Keynes on Friday. It is understood she had changed her name this summer, having previously been known as Edward Adam Brown or Edward Latham.
She was serving a number of life sentences for attempted murder and was housed on the close supervision centre (CSC), reserved for the most dangerous and vulnerable prisoners.
Her death comes just weeks after the death of 21-year-old Vicky Thompson, who was being held at Armley, a category B men’s prison in Leeds.
Latham had not requested a transfer to a women’s prison, the Guardian understands. In any case, she would not have been eligible for a transfer, as there are no CSC units for women in the English justice system.
A Prison Service spokesperson said on Tuesday: “HMP Woodhill prisoner Joanne Latham (dob 31/01/1977) was found unresponsive on the morning of Friday 27 November. Staff and paramedics attempted resuscitation but she was pronounced dead at 6.20am. As with all deaths in custody there will be an investigation by the independent prisons and probation ombudsman.”
In 2001, Latham was given a life sentence at Nottingham crown court after being convicted under the name Edward Latham of attempting to murder her flatmate by lacing a glass of Coca-Cola with mercury.
Six years later, in 2007, she was given another life sentence after trying to kill another inmate at HMP Frankland in County Durham.
Then in July 2011, when being held at Rampton secure psychiatric hospital in north Nottinghamshire and still living as a man, she tried to kill another patient by stabbing him in the neck. She was found guilty by jury of attempted murder and given another life sentence.
The CSC system holds about 60 of the most dangerous prisoners . Many of these are men who have been imprisoned for very serious offences which have done great harm, have usually committed subsequent very serious further offences in prison and whose dangerous and disruptive behaviour is too difficult to manage in an ordinary prison location.