In 1990, Robert Kosilek strangled his wife Cheryl McCaul. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life without parole. In 2000, Kosilek demanded that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections pay for him to have a sex change operation since he had been diagnosed with gender identity disorder and thought of himself as female. When they refused, he filed a lawsuit against them, claiming that they violated his Eighth Amendment rights. The Eighth Amendment states:
“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
In 2002, the court ruled in Kosilek’s favor and ordered the prison system to provide hormone therapy and psychotherapy for his condition. In 2006, Kosilek again sued the Massachusetts DOC for again violating his Eighth Amendment rights of cruel and unusual punishment by refusing to provide him a sex change operation.
US District Judge Mark Wolf ruled this past September that the prison system in fact did violate her constitutional rights and ordered the prison system to pay for his sex change surgery. Now a federal judge has added insult to injury by awarding Kosilek’s attorney’s fees to be paid by the state. They are currently trying to calculate how much those fees are, but current estimates place the amount over $700,000.
The Massachusetts DOC is still trying to appeal the court’s decision to provide Kosilek with sex change surgery. Kosilek’s attorneys have said that they would forgo the fees if the DOC would drop their appeal and provide their client with the sex change operation he has requested.
Sorry if I sound a little harsh or cruel, but when someone commits a crime like murder and is sentenced to life with no parole, they give up most of their rights. They are no longer free to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Therefore, I don’t believe they have the right to demand any kind of elective procedures at the state’s expense. The state prison system should provide the basic medical care necessary and no more. If Kosilek was not in prison, he would have to pay for his surgery himself, so why should the Massachusetts taxpayers pay for it now?
If Massachusetts had the death penalty and carried it out, there wouldn’t have been this waste of court time and taxpayer expense in this case. It also wouldn’t cost the taxpayers a fortune to care for them. In 2009, there were 10,094 prisoners in the Massachusetts prisons at a cost of $1.2 billion. That breaks down to $118,882 per prisoner. Kosilek has already been in prison for 22 years which means that he has already cost the state at least $2 million. It would have been so much cheaper to have bought $100 worth of chemicals or $1 worth of electricity or $20 for rope or bullets to carry out a death sentence with a convicted murderer deserves. I guess the state of Massachusetts deserves a case like this since they don’t have the death penalty.