A Wisconsin man who is imprisoned for having raped his own daughter is constitutionally entitled to receive a sex change at taxpayer expense, a federal judge ruled earlier this month.
Mark Allen Campbell, 49, who was sentenced in 2007 to 34 years in jail after pleading guilty to first-degree sexual assault against his daughter, now identifies as a transgender woman and prefers the name Nicole Rose Campbell, according to The Post Millennial.
U.S. District Judge James Peterson ruled that Campbell is entitled to sex change surgery and that he should be moved to a women’s prison in the meantime. Because there is only one surgeon in Wisconsin who performs sex changes, the wait could be a while, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Campbell will be the first in Wisconsin to undergo such a procedure while in state custody.
“The rights of transgender persons and sex reassignment surgery remain politically controversial, even outside the prison context,” wrote Peterson. “And some members of the public are outraged at any effort to improve the health and well being of inmates. But the true public interest lies in alleviating needless suffering by those who are dependent on the government for their care.”
“I decline to impose any further prerequisites on Campbell’s sex reassignment surgery; she has waited long enough,” Peterson further wrote.
First incarcerated in Racine Correctional Institute, a men’s prison in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, Campbell first requested a sex change operation in 2013, which was denied. Campbell has nevertheless been dressing as a woman while receiving female hormones and transgender counseling thanks to taxpayer money.
In 2016, Campbell filed a lawsuit alleging that his Eighth Amendment rights were being violated because Department of Corrections (DOC) officials were “indifferent” to his “medical needs,” thereby subjecting him to the allegedly cruel and unusual punishment of not being allowed to undergo a sex change.
A 2-1 decision from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that DOC officials were immune to damages in the lawsuit because they could not have anticipated that denying Campbell a sex change would have violated his rights.
As The Post Millennial reported:
The dissenting judge, Diane Wood insisted that the DOC was deliberately indifferent to Campbell’s condition which could lead to self-castration, if in Campbell’s dismay at not having surgery provided Campbell would undertake to remove her penis with her own hand. Campbell’s lawyer agreed, stating that while the DOC medical director was respectful towards Campbell in allowing her to live as a woman, they refused to change their policy to accommodate her request.
“The Eighth Amendment requires prison healthcare professionals to exercise medical judgment when making decisions about an inmate’s treatment. And they cannot completely deny the care of a serious medical condition,” Judge Diane Sykes wrote in the decision.
“But cases recognizing those broad principles could not have warned these defendants that treating an inmate’s gender dysphoria with hormone therapy and deferring consideration of sex-reassignment surgery violates the Constitution.”