A transgender inmate serving a life sentence without parole for murder will be given hormone blockers and hair removal services after a judge ruled that to failing to provide treatment to an inmate with gender dysphoria would constitute inhumane treatment.
James Hicklin, who was convicted and charged with the murder of Sean Smith in 1995, now goes by Jessica Hicklin and sued the Potosi Correctional Center after it refused to offer him the transitional hormone therapy and hair removal services that he desires, according to the Daily Mail. He is serving 100 years in the Missouri prison without parole.
Federal Judge Noelle Collins ruled Friday to grant a preliminary injunction forcing the prison to provide Hicklin — who was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 2015 — with the services he requests. The ruling comes after Lambda Legal sued the correctional facility on Hicklin’s behalf, arguing that to withhold hormone treatment and hair services would constitute a violation of his constitutional rights.
Lamda Legal’s lawsuit cites notes from Dr. Meredith Throop who posits that “Heckling continues to experience much discomfort and anxiety,” while psychiatrist Evelynn Stephens charges that Hicklin continues to suffer “increasing intrusive self harm [sic] thoughts to remove own testicles in order to remove offensive testosterone,” according to the lawsuit.
“This decision is such a welcome relief,” said Lambda Legal Transgender Rights Project attorney Demoya Gordon. “Jessica will finally have access to the potentially life-saving medical care she has waited so many years for.”
Gordon also posited that forcing Hicklin to forgo what she deems as medically necessary treatment would constitute unnecessarily cruel treatment, and that ensuring Hicklin receives adequate medical care is the “humane thing to do.”
The lawsuit will head to a full trial in May.
Collins’ ruling comes after an anonymous inmate at Massachusetts Correctional Institution-Norfolk sued the state prison in mid-November because the prison in which he is currently kept wouldn’t offer him female services, like mammograms and tampons, or house him with other female inmates. He filed his complaint in a Boston federal court against the prison, requesting transfer to a nearby women’s prison, according to the Boston Herald. The transgender inmate is serving four years for a drug-related crime.
Another transgender inmate sued the Indiana Department of Corrections commissioner in November because the jail he’s housed in won’t provide him with hormone therapy to facilitate his gender transition, arguing that the denial constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, according to the Indy Star.
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