TWO years after Veronnica Baxter died in a men's jail, her brothers are still asking why.
A coronial inquest into Ms Baxter's death last week found she committed suicide at Silverwater in 2009, sometime between her single-cell door closing on March 15 and when it was opened the next morning.
Greens MP David Shoebridge said questions remained about why Ms Baxter, a transgender Aboriginal woman, was put in an all-male facility when she identified as a woman, and why she was not given hormone medication prescribed to her.
Corrective Services policy states transgender prisoners should be put in a centre based on which gender they identify with - unless there are concerns for their safety or that of other prisoners. Mr Shoebridge will refer her death to a parliamentary inquiry with the power to call witnesses.
''It is a serious disappointment and a failing in the system that there was a two-year delay for a half-day coronial inquest,'' he said. ''That delay has meant that witness recollections were stale.''
Ms Baxter, 34, was born James Drury in the Queensland outback, but was known as Veronnica from the age of 19.
She was arrested on March 10, 2009, charged with selling drugs, but Mr Shoebridge said her final days remain a mystery.
NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith will be briefed on the case tomorrow by the Department of Corrective Services, which submitted its own investigation to the Coroner.
NSW Labor leader John Robertson, who was the corrective services minister at the time, declined to comment.
In the meantime, her two brothers, who work in Queensland cattle stations, have asked deaths in custody activist Ray Jackson from the Indigenous Social Justice Association to help publicise their sister's story.
When deputy state coroner Paul McMahon ruled her death a suicide, Ms Baxter's brother William phoned the court to lift a non-publication order that applied.
''They want the facts out there, they want to know what happened to their sister,'' Mr Jackson said.
In evidence presented to the Coroner, Ms Baxter was interviewed by counsellors who reported she was not at risk of suicide.
In a report by a counsellor who interviewed Ms Baxter on March 14, she is described as ''happy, smiling and content''. The counsellor said she was ''co-operative and polite'' but when asked how she felt, said: ''Not feminine.''
Two days earlier, she had been interviewed by a counsellor at the Surry Hills police cells. The counsellor's report said: ''I did not see or hear anything to suggest that she was having difficulties being incarcerated.''
Her family and Mr Jackson said they want to know why this changed.
In her last hours, Ms Baxter made emergency calls from her cell to corrective services officers. These calls were not recorded, and officers at Silverwater could not say who answered them.
In the only recommendation from the inquest, Mr McMahon said that in future these calls and the response from a corrective services officer should be recorded and retained for ''an appropriate period''.
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