Transgender inmate SRS saga — don’t second guess judge unless prepared to deal with onslaught of marbles

Trans inmate Michelle Kosilek is serving life for a murder conviction

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — By now, everybody and their neighbor have called for the Massachusetts judge’s head on a pike for ordering that a trans inmate get SRS (sex reassignment surgery) while in prison.

I’d like to remind everyone of this very simple fact: A doctor made a medical decision in the best interest of patient and a judge ordered that it be carried out. Do we really want open the door to second guessing the needs of patients receiving medical care at taxpayer expense? Mental patients at state hospitals? Veterans? People on Medicare? It’s a slippery slope, my friends. Open that door, marbles come pouring out.

Besides, health care costs at prisons are included in their budgets — it’s not like it is an unexpected surprise to them. Every day prison administrators face seemingly expensive health care-related decisions  — ‘well, the death row inmate is in a lot of pain and needs a new hip, but he IS on death row, decisions, decisions . . .’ (this actually happened: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/may/17/ky-officials-torn-over-expensive-surgery-for-death/?page=all) the bottom line, withholding health care amounts to cruel and unusual punishment — cut corners here, we’ll pay more at the end of a lawsuit.

Now, I’m not advocate for letting inmates out of prison before they’ve paid their debt to society, but many an inmate have been released to contain costs. This is pretty much the choice here: pay for SRS or free a convicted murderer.

Thinking that the decision can be overturned is likely to backfire. Remember, Michelle Kosilek already has a conservative U.S. District judge on her side — I’m quite sure was an agonizing decision for the judge, Mark Wolf, to rule on the side of law here which leads me to believe there is no room for a different interpretation, because if there was, Wolf would have used it instead of having to see his face plastered on FOX-News affiliates.

Information on benefits gained by the transgender community from the court ruling: Transgender inmate’s court win is movement’s latest victory | OregonLive.com.

Trans inmate Michelle Kosilek is serving life for a murder conviction

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Categories: Discrimination, Equality, Civil Rights, Judicial, Courts, Law Enforcement, Police, Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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22 replies

  1. It is very simple, she has rights, and they are called HUMAN RIGHTS.. these are rights that are not and cannot and should not under any circumstance be abused.. Yes she had a bad day, made a really crappy decision and killed someone, get over it.. We all make crappy decisions.

    She is spending the rest of her life in a really crappy place, prison, jail, wherever, it is brutal. She is still trans, and has HUMAN RIGHTS to a gender and an identity, it is cruel and inhuman to deny her, her HUMAN RIGHT to her gender and identity.

    Denying her this basic fundamental HUMAN RIGHT, she will have no option but to seek expensive and drawn out legal battle that will no doubt cost many times the once off cost of SRS, even at $30 to $50 000.

  2. And let’s also remember this is a felon. This is a criminal who showed a blatant, callous disregard for the person she killed. And to be very blunt, this person is in prison and unless the person is suffering from something that prevents them from waking up, eating, showing up in a lineup…then this is an optional item. It is cosmetic .

    I realize this will not sit well with the PC lobby, but this person is only entitled to the basic care that will allow them to finish out their sentence and that is it. At least that is how it used to be done in the more ‘enlightened’ depending on the state.But with a ruling like this, things have slid even more down the PC vein. One has to wonder if any of the people who are asking for compassion for this felon are extending same to the family of the woman this punk killed? Or is that empathy only reserved for those who are the ‘right type’ of person? There are other variables that can be thrown in…but let’s keep it with these.

    • I believe the judge is ordering the basic care you speak of. This isn’t PC at all, but rather, complying with the laws of the United States.

      • Where is my basic care….I pay for premiums that dont cover such care… this is bull…

        • It’s unfortunate that your cut-price insurance policy doesn’t cover basic care. Even more unfortunate if it’s not cut-price, just cut-quality.

          Many are in your situation – lifetime caps, exclusions of pre-existing conditions, or just plain exclusions with no rational reason other than they don’t want to pay out.

          That doesn’t alter the fact that it’s basic care they’re excluding.

  3. The judge sez:

    In his ruling Tuesday, Wolf said that the department was acting “deliberately indifferent” in failing to provide the surgery now that Kosilek has continued to suffer “intense mental anguish,” a violation of his rights against cruel and unusual punishment.

    “Prisoners have long been held to have a right to humane treatment, including a right to adequate care for their serious medical needs,” Wolf said, citing US Supreme Court rulings.

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2012/09/04/federal-judge-rules-state-must-provide-sex-reassignment-surgery-for-michelle-kosilek-who-was-convicted-murdering-his-wife-man/oLBFbviLomMd7KT0VDcuNO/story.html

  4. My take on this in the total is that the prison authorities took the most extreme case they had and made a weak defense of their position to get a direction from the courts and not from political ways.

  5. Oh and a little aside it recognizes our legal rights. The decision was made by a conservative Regan appointment.

  6. Reagan, yes. Which is why I doubt it would get overturned.

  7. Without getting to the point where more colourful metaphors would be utilized from this desk, this points to a rather sickening issue of those forgetting this is a felon. As well as if this is allowed, where will this PC crap stop? By the way…the state is coming up with this and yet is having problems coming up with funding for education, job training programs as well as helping out those who may have fallen on hard times through various means [economy being what it is]?

    While this may sound mean to you it is not. There is a need to establish priorities and it needs to be mentioned again, that this is a FELON…the priority is to punish this waste of cells and in turn, if it sets an example so that no one follows in the felon sneakers steps of this punk, all the better.

    • I’m not so sure how a ruling from conservative judge on this issue can be considered “PC Crap”.

      Then there is this: Can you explain how eventual exonerated death row prisoners (there been 140 since 1973) will be impacted by the “prioritizing” of health care?

      • I fail to see how you are mixing the two issues. But that being the case…one has nothing to do with the other here. And it’s a poor argument…be that as it may.

        As for this one being a conservative judge, one would have hoped he had more sense than he did. But this case and the responses to this in quite a few corners show there is a lack of understanding of right and wrong. This along with upholding the rights of a felon, a nutcase, a psycho and ignoring the victim in this. But this is sort of the direction the penal system had been going off and on, which is upsetting in more ways than one.

        Again, the exoneration of those 140 individuals has nothing to do with this. Also, the point being made here was about the cost of this vis a vis how those who do not have criminal records are treated.

  8. Everyone always demands the ” rule of law ” until they get it ! its either the rules are for the other guy or thats not what I expected ! so I respect the judge she followed the rules, what people don’t understand is this, there is nothing warm and fuzzy about the law, its served cold ! Happy for the inmate.

  9. This isn’t a trans issue. The simple fact of the matter is that a great deal of the law and order types have the same contempt for the 8th amendment that anti-gun people have for the 2nd. I’m one of them: I think that we need to follow Turkey’s example in how to run a prison system, and possibly for lulz have them run by Jigsaw. On an emotional level, I find it outrageous to extend the concept of human rights in any substantial way to prisoners. Intellectually, that’s another story.

    Now, there’s the law, but you can’t win an argument about law in the United States when your opponent believes the law in question is fundamentally unjust. Americans have a long history of flat out ignoring laws we feel are bullshit. On anything but financial matters, we are a lot of viscous, chaotic bumpkins looking for a justified excuse to engage in vengeful, sadistic behavior.

    This is not a trans rights issue, as much as you’d might like to frame it as one. It is the straw that broke the camel’s back on a much more pervasive issue: the rage that many, if not most Americans have over a single tax payer dollar being spent on a lavish prison system. It doesn’t matter to people like me what the actual per person quality of life is like, good or bad, it’s simply I have to pay for it. And I resent very highly having to pay for this woman’s bed, any medical services not just the SRS, the guards to watch her, the cost of her prisoner’s jumpsuit. Anything at all.

    Ideally, I’d like to go back to the days of stocks, whippings and fines for anything but violent felonies in which case the penalty was handled in the morning, and death by hanging from the nearest tree in the afternoon. It was brutal, but more important it was dirt cheap. If you want to end the cycle of brutal recriminations on the issue, you don’t need to reform the prison system, although it’s badly, badly broken, you need to make sure that prisoner labor covers all prison related costs. People will be much more likely to be OK with a prisoner to get a sex change if they know no taxpayer will foot the bill, not one cent.

  10. In all honesty I have not been following this story, but am still intrigued. On one hand I can understand and relate to all the people who are more than a little upset that a felon in prison is being awarded a rather pricy medical procedure that many far more deserving law-abiding citizens cannot afford..including numerous trans*folk who are suffering equally but have to make do without. And then on the other hand I can also understand how even a conservative judge can reach the conclusion that her particular needs are causing her undue mental anguish and that even felons deserve not to have additional suffering piled upon their court mandated punishment because in spite of it all, they’re still human beings.

    I suppose it comes down to how you view prison’s role in society. Are they there strictly to punish criminals, or are they there to attempt to rehabilitate criminals and return them to society. IMO if you believe the former, then why even fool with parole boards? Why bother with prison psychologists and prison chaplains? Why not just execute all “lifers” and be done with it? And if you, like me, believe in the latter, then why would you want a system designed to turn all the inmates into violent sociopaths whether that’s how they came into the system or not.

    As for my curiosity…perhaps this has been discussed in other articles that I’ve yet to read..but it would seem to me that having an inmate who is in every regard female except for those bits of her body below the waist (which, according to the US Govt, still make her a man) mixed in with the male population OR the female population would only be subjecting her to a pile of undue suffering at the hands of her fellow inmates. Let’s be honest. Prison isn’t a nice place for gender-conforming people, and being physically in-between genders would create all sorts of hassles for not only her, but for prison administrators who have to, in spite of what some people desire, keep the inmates healthy and safe from one another. In light of that, and in light of what prisons already spend on healthcare (Remember Susan Akin?), it seems only logical to let her have her SRS and hopefully avoid further bigger hassles and lawsuits.

  11. Here’s my issue with this. I’m transgendered and would like SRS, I have medical insurance, And I’ve never strangled anyone to death and yet I’m paying for this woman to get surgery while I cannot afford it for myself? that’s fucking horse shit.

    • I can agree with you anonymous its not fair !! life isn’t fair, I have the funds to pay for my GRS but I would loose EVERYTHING I have worked for over my lifetime, thats not fair. My thought is simple, the lack of freedom this transgendered m to f is living while in prison is in many ways cruel and no party for her, and as a free society we do not treat citizens ( yes criminals ) in a lesser or demeaning manner, the doctors certify this transfemale need GRS, thats the cost of doing business in our world

Trackbacks

  1. Gov. Patrick, it’s not about sex reassignment surgery or the cost . . . « The Guerrilla Angel Report by Lexie Cannes
  2. Legislator tries end run around federal judge’s transgender “cruel and unusual punishment” ruling « The Guerrilla Angel Report by Lexie Cannes

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