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Charles Montaldo

Weekly Crime Poll: Tax Payers to Pay for Killer's Sex-Change Surgery

By September 9, 2012

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Convicted murderer Michelle Kosilek, also known as Robert, has won a 12-year legal battle to get the Massachusetts Department of Corrections to provide him with gender-reassignment surgery.

Kosilek, who has received hormones for treatment of gender-identity disorder, is currently living as a female in an all-male prison. He is serving a life sentence without parole for killing his wife in 1990.

The Massachusetts Department of Corrections has previously denied Kosilek the taxpayer-funded sex-change surgery because they were concerned that he would then become a target for sexual assault. But U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf disagreed and ruled that the surgery is the "only adequate treatment" for Kosilek and the the prison officials security concerns were "either pretextual or can be dealt with."

Wolf also wrote that not to do the surgery was in violation of Kosilek's Eighth Amendment right and that he concurred with the medical experts from the Department of Corrections who testified that the only adequate medical treatment for Kosilek was to receive the surgery.

Over the years Kosilek attempted suicide twice and attempted to castrate himself.

The surgery could cost tax payers around $20,000.

Poll #1: Should tax payers have to pay for an inmate's sex-change operation?
Poll #2: If Kosilek receives the sex-change operation, should he be moved to a female prison?
See also: Federal Judge Orders Mass. to Pay for Killer's Sex Change

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September 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm
(1) Ivan says:

Εхceptіonal post however , I wаs wanting to knoω іf yοu сould writе а litte more on this
topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Thank you!

December 31, 2013 at 11:45 pm
(2) beneficii says:

I read the case, and the part about the security concerns being a pretext and the possible real reasons the prison officials wanted to deny the surgery. It seems that Judge Wolf has received a lot of criticism for not simply deferring to the prison officials and taking their word at it, but considering the bad faith conduct of the prison officials throughout the case (unless you think preventing an inmate from getting SRS through any means necessary including perjury constitutes “good faith”), I think it would have been completely wrong for the Judge to simply “buy” what the prison officials were selling. Judges will generally take the words of unreliable witnesses with a grain of salt, and Judge Wolf also wrote of another case involving transgender inmates, in Wisconsin, where the prison officials showed themselves to be unreliable as witnesses. It seems bad faith actions by the prison officials also add support to the argument that they are engaged in deliberate indifference.

Also, Judge Wolf did cite Supreme Court precedence saying that judges may not defer to prison officials if their security concerns are not reasonable and not made in good faith.

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