Should the Government Pay for Inmate Sex Change Operations?

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Prisons world wide are full of hardcore inmates serving lengthy sentences for the crimes that they have committed. In one way or another, whether it be money, property, or even a human life, these criminals have all stolen something away from tax paying citizens through their actions. Why then are crazy privileges being given to these felons at the tax payers expense?

Robert Kosilek has been behind bars in a Massachusetts prison since 1990 for strangling his wife to death during a domestic dispute. After legally changing his name to Michelle in 1993, Kosilek started living as a woman and began his quest for a free sex change operation . Kosilek sued the department of corrections on the grounds that by forcing him to live as a woman trapped in a man`s body,  they had not protected him from cruel and unusual punishment, thus violating his eighth amendment rights.

In 2002 after being diagnosed with gender identity disorder, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolfe determined that Kosilek was legally entitled to treatment for the disorder. Treatment includes psychotherapy, hormone treatment and laser hair removal and is very costly. The treatment stopped just short of reconstructive surgery.

Gender identity disorder causes severe anxiety, depression and suicide tendencies. Those who suffer from the disorder claim that it is cruel and unusual punishment to have to live with these problems and that surgery is the only solution. At the tax payers expense of course.

Kosilek`s case has been in limbo for years now and has become a popular topic of debate for many tax payers via radio talk shows. Some feel that because the legal fees are far more expensive than the sex change operation would have been, that the State should have granted his request and saved some money. Others, myself included, feel that if the courts give in, it will be opening the door for more outlandish requests from inmates in the name of justice. Next it will small breasted female inmates demanding enhancement because they suffer from depression brought on by low self esteem and expecting it to be paid for by the tax payers as well.

“If people are not treated, they suffer tremendously,” said Shannon Minter, a board member of the Trans gender Law and Policy Institute. “It’s just as cruel to withhold treatment for gender-identity disorder as it is to withhold treatment for any other medical issue.”

Why is this such a hard decision for the courts to make? People who are not trans gender suffer from anxiety and depression and are successfully treated with proper medication all of the time. Why is surgery the only thing that will alleviate these symptoms  in these cases?

At  the end of the day it should all boil down to the fact that this man is a murderer. He was a man when he committed murder, and should serve his time as a man. And if being trapped in the wrong body is as terrible as he says it is, and that his body is a prison; then justice truly has been served.

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