Michigan allows transition-related care for trans inmates

The new policy takes effect Monday. File photo.

The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) has adopted a new policy for the care of transgender prisoners after a transgender woman incarcerated in a Michigan prison campaigned to receive hormone replacement therapy.

The policy, which takes effect this Monday, overrides previous guidelines that only allowed transgender inmates to receive hormones if they had begun treatment before incarceration.

This new policy also allows for transgender inmates to be considered for transition-related surgeries.

Jami Naturalite, a transgender inmate in a Michigan prison facility, wrote to the Southern Poverty Law Center last year relating to the Georgia case they were involved in, Diamond v Owens, which successfully challenged a similarly discriminatory policy.

SPLC, teaming up with ACLU of Michigan, later asked MDOC to change its policy.

“We are pleased that the Michigan Department of Corrections took this important step to ensure that transgender people in prisons receive the care they need – and which the Constitution requires,” said David Dinielli, SPLC deputy legal director.

“We hope it also ensures they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Naturalite’s case has already been reviewed by the Committee and she has already started hormone replacement therapy.

“Transgender people who are sentenced to serve time in our prisons should not be forced to endure cruel and unusual punishment because of their gender identity,” said Jay Kaplan, LGBT Project staff attorney at the ACLU of Michigan.

“This is not some kind of preferential treatment; all inmates have a fundamental right to medical care, safety and a basic level of respect.”

Copyright The Gayly - 6/26/2017 @ 3:44 p.m. CST