Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Is Sex Change Operation for Prisoner a Good Use of Tax Dollars?
A Boston federal court has been trying to answer this question over the last year. After hundreds of hours of testimony and at least ten expert witnesses pontificating on the merits of the operation, the court may not be much closer to an answer. The prisoner/patient is a murderer serving life in prison. Legal Pub questions whether taxes be used to pay for his sex-change operation?
Michelle (previously known as Robert) Kosilek wants a sex change. To date, no transgender inmate has succeeded in obtaining a court ordered sex-change. The Massachusetts Correction Department opposes the surgery. They argue that it would make Kosilek a target for sexual assault. (But Legal Pub questions, if he has the sex change, should he not then be housed in the Women's Prison?)
The A.P. has reported that the State has spent $52,000 on experts to testify about an operation that would cost about $20,000.
State Sen. Scott Brown said,"They are prisoners. They are there because they've broken the law," who unsuccessfully introduced a bill to ban sex-change surgery for inmates. Other folks, people who want to get these types of surgeries, they have to go through their insurance carrier or save up for it and do it independently. Yet if you are in prison, you can do it for nothing? That doesn't make a lot of sense."
The opposition argues that Kosilek ( who allegedly has attempted suicide ) needs the sex-change surgery as much a medical necessity for treatment.
Kosilek , 58, killed his wife in 1990 after she spilled boiling tea on his genitals. He legally changed his name to Michelle in 1993. He alleges that the States refusal to pay for the surgery violates the Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.