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Transgender Prisoner launches hunger strike

A transgender prisoner at Auckland Prison is launching a full hunger,
thirst and medication strike today, on April 10th, to protest against
Corrections’ failure to transfer her closer to her whānau in Wellington,
where she will be released in five months.

According to the prisoner, she requested a transfer over a month ago
after the Parole Board recommended that she be moved to Wellington.
After following up with Corrections, however, she learned that there is
no record of her even filing a request.

“Correction policy advises that incarcerated people should be housed
close to their friends and family to facilitate reintegration. If
Corrections cared about her rehabilitation, she would have been
transferred months ago,” says People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA)
advocate Kate McIntyre

“When she asks for something, she’s referred to someone else, who then
refers her back to the person she asked initially,” says McIntyre.
“Corrections has her running around in circles. No one is taking action
or responsibility for her wellbeing.”

PAPA has previously advocated for this prisoner to get her access to
prescription eyeglasses, after Corrections repeatedly declined to
provide her with them.

“It took nearly a year before she received a pair of glasses, and only
after her lawyer paid for them. Even after her glasses had been dropped
off, she was told by Corrections staff that they still did not have
them. They were only given to her after she caused a non-violent

Corrections is required to give prisoners access to the same standard of
healthcare as they would receive on the outside.

“I’ve been working with this prisoner for a long time and I’m appalled
by how badly Corrections has failed to meet even its simplest legal
obligations,” says McIntyre. “This is far from the first time
Corrections’ inaction has caused severe harm. Whether it’s from
understaffing, apathy, or deliberate ill-intent, this is not

“She has chosen to protest by way of a hunger, fluid, and medication
strike until she’s transferred. Her life depends on this medication. If
she’s not transferred soon, this strike will have disastrous effects on
her health.”

According to McIntyre, this prisoner should not have reached the point
where she has to take such a drastic action.

“It’s an indictment on our prison system that people in prison feel that
starving themselves is the only way to make their voices heard.”

© Scoop Media

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