A federal judge ruled that the state of Wisconsin must pay for a gender-reassignment surgery for a convicted sex offender.
Mark Campbell, who now goes by Nicole Campbell, was convicted in 2007 of sexually abusing his 10-year-old daughter.
In 2013, Campbell began seeking a gender reassignment surgery, but the Wisconsin Department of Corrections denied his request and offered him other accommodations, such as hormone treatment and women’s clothing.
U.S. District Judge James Peterson, however, argued the state must provide the surgery and move Campbell to a women’s prison.
“The rights of transgender persons and sex reassignment surgery remain politically controversial, even outside the prison context,” Peterson wrote, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“And some members of the public are outraged at any effort to improve the health and well being of inmates,” he said. “But the true public interest lies in alleviating needless suffering by those who are dependent on the government for their care.”
The Wisconsin Department of Corrections asked Peterson to allow the jailers to move Campbell to a women’s prison before giving him the surgery, which came as a “surprise” to Peterson, he said.
“I decline to impose any further prerequisites on Campbell’s sex reassignment surgery; she has waited long enough,” Peterson said.
Campbell was convicted of first-degree sexual assault of a child after his daughter told police that he “had sex with her, masturbated in front of her, used various sex toys with her, and exposed her to DVD and video porn movies and magazines.”
But Peterson argued Campbell’s criminal history was not relevant to the case.
“To be clear: an inmate’s criminal history is irrelevant to whether she has a right to necessary medical treatment,” Peterson wrote. “Campbell continues to suffer from gender dysphoria, which causes her anguish and puts her at risk of self-harm or suicide.”