Court orders medical treatment for trans prisoners

Posted on 01 Apr 2010 at 2:23pm

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin has struck down a Wisconsin state law barring transgender prisoners from receiving any type of hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery while they are incarcerated.

The state Legislature passed the law, which went into effect in January 2006, despite concerns raised by Department of Corrections medical personnel. The ACLU and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit challenging the statute on behalf of transgender prisoners, including some who had been receiving hormones in Wisconsin prisons for years before the law was passed.

The court ruled that the statute’s ban on medical care “constitutes deliberate indifference to the plaintiff’s serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment inasmuch as enforcement of the statute results in the denial of hormone therapy without regard for the individual medical needs of inmates and the medical judgment of their health care providers.”

According to Lambda Legal, Wisconsin is the only state to have passed such a law.

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