US judge allows inmate to get sex change operation

PHOTO: US judge allows inmate to get sex change operation

WASHINGTON - A US judge in Massachusetts has ruled that a prison inmate could undergo a sex change operation, but did not say whether the detainee would be incarcerated with men or women.

Michelle Kosilek, who was born Robert Kosilek and is currently serving a life sentence for killing his wife, had been seeking permission for the operation for 12 years, after already receiving hormone treatment.

In the first ruling of its kind, Judge Mark Wolf said Tuesday that Kosilek had "the right to adequate medical care for his serious medical need," citing the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

Prison authorities had opposed Kosilek's request, arguing that the operation would make him the target of other prisoners.

The 128-page ruling said the court had considered the purported security concerns but found that they were "either pretextual or can be dealt with by the DOC (Department of Corrections)."

The court left it to prison officials to decide where Kosilek should be incarcerated and did not rule on who should carry out the surgery or who should pay for it.