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More of your already spent tax dollars wasted on ‘Transgender inmates’


More of your already spent tax dollars wasted on ‘Transgender inmates’


Transgender inmates who did not begin treatment prior to entering federal custody can now receive hormones, specialized mental health counseling and possibly gender reassignment surgery while they are in prison, according to new rules adopted by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons as part of a court settlement.
A May 31 memo issued to wardens at the nation’s 116 federal prisons and made public by gay rights groups in announcing the settlement Friday states, “current, accepted standards of care” will be applied to inmates who believe they are the wrong gender.
Under the bureau’s previous policy, issued in 2005, only federal inmates with a preexisting diagnosis were eligible for transgender-related care, which was limited to treatments that would maintain them “only at the level of change which existed when they were incarcerated.”
The new guidelines mean prisoners who were previously disqualified from treatment because they had not received any on the outside will now be eligible to begin hormone therapy to feminize or masculinize their features and to dress and live accordingly as part of individualized treatment plans.
“The treatment plan may include elements or services that were, or were not, provided prior to incarceration, including, but not limited to: those elements of real life experience consistent with the prison environment, hormone therapy and counseling,” the memo from bureau medical director Newton Kendig states.
The policy memo does not mention surgical intervention, but National Center for Lesbian Rights LegalDirector Shannon Minter said the agreement would permit surgery as a treatment option if prison doctors agree it is necessary for individual inmates.
The May guidance specifically advises wardens that “treatment options will not be precluded solely due to level of services received, or lack of services, prior to incarceration.”
That language, as well as the reference to accepted standards of care is significant since the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the professional organization that issues guidelines for treating gender identity disorders, considers genital reconstruction surgery “essential and medically necessary” for some patients suffering from “gender dysphoria.”
Jennifer Levidirector of the Transgender Rights Project at Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, said that because the memo does not prohibit surgery, `It leaves open the possibility that the full range of appropriate medical care must be considered in adopting an individual treatment plan.”
“There is no reason why an incarcerated person should be excluded from receiving surgery if it turned out to be medically necessary for that individual,” Levi said.
Levi said prison officials have typically been hostile to transgender inmates and that she anticipates more legal action to ensure the bureau’s policy is put into practice.
The policy shift resulted from a two-and-a-half-year-old lawsuit seeking hormone therapy for Vanessa Adams, who began serving a 20-year sentence as Nicholas Adams and was diagnosed with gender identity disorder in 2005 by doctors at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Mo.  After she was denied treatment because of the rule requiring previous care for gender identity disorder,Adams, 41, tried to castrate herself with a razor and attempted to and ultimately succeeded in amputating her penis, according to court papers.More

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