An inquiry into the death of Indigenous transwoman Veronica Baxter will be held two years after she was found hanging in a Silverwater jail cell.
Baxter was arrested on March 10, 2009 for supplying a prohibited drug, and placed in an all-male prison. She was found dead six days later.
Following her death, a number of groups began campaigning for an inquest, including the Indigenous Social Justice Association, Community Action Against Homophobia, Sex And Gender Education, the Organisation Intersex International, and the NSW Greens who brought the matter up twice in Parliament.
A police investigation into Baxter’s death was completed by September 2009, with the matter then submitted to the NSW Coroner.
A coronial inquest will now be heard on April 4-5.
Ray Jackson, president of the Indigenous Social Justice Association, told the Star Observer it was a particular concern that Baxter had been sent to Silverwater.
“It seems to go against the corrective services transgender policy that was introduced to allow transpeople to go to the jail of their chosen sex,” Jackson said.
“In Veronica’s case she should have been placed in Mulawa women’s prison. I don’t know why she finished up in a men’s jail, but she did.”
Jackson said he was hopeful the inquest would answer most questions surrounding Baxter’s death but not those her family most wanted answered.
“They rarely go where the family wants them to. The Coroner’s Court doesn’t particularly like finding blame in things to do with the police or prison officers.”
A rally against Indigenous deaths in custody is being held at 10am on February 14 at the corner of George and Phillips streets, Waterloo, and will march to Redfern’s the Block neighbourhood.
The Star Observer understands the rally will call for a memorial to Indigenous people who have died in custody, including Baxter, to be built in Redfern.