A federal appeals court in Boston today upheld a judge’s ruling that a transgender inmate, Michelle L. Kosilek, is able to receive the health care she needs. (See full ruling below.)
Statement of Ilona Turner, Legal Director, Transgender Law Center:
The First Circuit’s ruling upholds the basic constitutional right to essential medical treatment in prison. It is well established that the failure to provide essential medical care to people in prison is unconstitutional and amounts to torture. This decision affirms that we as a society do not allow people to be tortured when they are in government custody.
There is a clear medical consensus that health care related to gender transition can be medically necessary for many transgender people. This kind of treatment can literally be life-saving for many people. The First Circuit appropriately affirmed the District Court’s ruling directing the state to provide this individual with the medical treatment that every doctor to evaluate her had concluded was essential.