Tags: Barack Obama | Health Topics | Justice Department | transgender | inmate | Georgia | lawsuit

Justice Dept Sides With Transgender Inmate in Georgia Lawsuit

Friday, 03 Apr 2015 07:59 PM

The Obama administration on Friday weighed in on the side of a transgender Georgia prison inmate who is suing the state over prison officials' refusal to provide treatment such as hormone therapy.

Lawyers with the U.S. Department of Justice's civil rights division said in papers filed in a federal court in Macon, Georgia, that the refusal of adequate treatment for a recognized mental illness amounted to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Constitution.

Courts across the country have wrestled with the question of what treatment prisons must provide to transgender inmates. On Thursday, a federal judge ruled that California must provide sex reassignment surgery to a trangender inmate.

Chinyere Ezie, a staff attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center who represents the Georgia inmate, said the Justice Department brief appeared to be the first of its kind on behalf of the U.S. government.

The Georgia inmate, Ashley Diamond, 36, lived as a woman and took hormones before going to prison for burglary and other charges in 2012. Her lawyers said in court papers that her physical and mental health were at risk without treatment, and that prison officials have placed her in unsafe facilities with violent men.

Justice Department lawyers agreed that the prison system had been indifferent to Diamond's condition. They wrote that the end of her hormone therapy had caused her to suffer from loss of breast mass she had developed, physical pain, and muscle spasms.

The needs of inmates, including transgender inmates, must be provided for on an individual basis, something Georgia has failed to do, according to the Justice Department.

"Prison officials have the obligation to assess and treat gender dysphoria just as they would any other medical or mental health condition," Vanita Gupta, the acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Corrections did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The state's lawyers have said they will file a motion by April 10 to dismiss Diamond's lawsuit.

The case is Ashley Diamond v. Commissioner Brian Owens, et al, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, No. 5:15-cv-50.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
US
The Obama administration on Friday weighed in on the side of a transgender Georgia prison inmate who is suing the state over prison officials' refusal to provide treatment such as hormone therapy.
Justice Department, transgender, inmate, Georgia, lawsuit, hormone therapy, California, surgery
357
2015-59-03
Friday, 03 Apr 2015 07:59 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved