Taxpayer-funded sex change ordered for inmate
BOSTON (WHDH) -- A federal judge, on Tuesday, ordered the Massachusetts Department of Correction to provide a taxpayer-funded sex-change operation for a transgender inmate convicted of murder.
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U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled in the case of Michelle Kosilek, who used to be Robert Kosilek until she changed her name in prison and began receiving court-ordered hormone treatments.
Kosilek is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in connection with the murder of his wife Cheryl in Mansfield in 1990.
The victim’s family is outraged about the ruling.
“I never thought in a million years a judge would be that stupid to allow something like this to happen. It’s sickening,” said Laura Brandel, victim’s niece. “So we have to pay twice. Once for her death and once again to pay for this.”
Kosilek, who maintains she suffers from a gender identity disorder, took the Department of Corrections to court in an effort to receive a taxpayer-funded sex change operation.
Wolf is believed to be the first federal judge to order prison officials to provide the surgery for a transgender inmate.
“It’s a precedent-setting decision. It’s a monumental decision,” said Thomas Hoopes, 7News legal analyst.
In his decision, Judge Wolf writes, “Kosilek has proven that his eighth amendment rights have been violated by the DOC’s refusal to provide the sex reassignment surgery prescribed by its doctors.”
“What he’s really saying is this particular prisoner has a right because this particular prisoner has a mental issue illness that results from being, as the judge puts it, a woman in a man’s body, and so for this particular prisoner -- not all prisoners -- the taxpayers are going to pay,” Hoopes explained.
The response to the ruling has been overwhelmingly negative. Senator Scott Brown called it an “outrageous abuse of taxpayer dollars.”
“I think him getting a sex change is a privilege. It is not fair that he goes to jail, murders somebody, and then he gets what he wants and then we have to pay for it.,” said Mollena Burton.
The DOC issued a statement saying they are reviewing the judge’s decision before they decide whether or not they will appeal the ruling.
If Kosilek undergoes a sex change, she will likely move to an all-women prison, a decision which would be made by the DOC.
A sex change can cost upwards of $25,000.