Federal judge Mark Wolf today ordered the Massachusetts Department of Corrections to provide a sex reassignment operation for Michelle Kosilek, who is currently serving life in prison for the murder of her wife in 1990. Kosilek, born Robert Kosilek, currently resides in an all-male prison while undergoing hormone treatments and identifying as female.
The BostonHerald.com offers a brief history of Kosilek’s attempts to seek surgery:
Wolf is believed to be the first federal judge to order prison officials to provide the surgery for a transgender inmate.
Kosilek first sued the Massachusetts Department of Correction 12 years ago. Two years later, Wolf ruled that Kosilek was entitled to treatment for gender-identity disorder, but stopped short of ordering surgery. Kosilek sued again in 2005, arguing that the surgery is a medical necessity.
Calling the surgery the “only adequate treatment” for Kosilek’s “serious medical need,” Judge Wolf issued a 126-page ruling wherein he addressed prison officials’ concerns that the surgery would make Kosilek a target for sexual attacks by fellow inmates. Calling these concerns “pretextual” and adding that they “can be dealt with by the DOC,” Wolf ultimately left it up to prison officials to decide where Kosilek will be housed following the procedure.
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