Transgender inmates who did not begin treatment prior to entering federal custody can now receive hormones, specialized mental health counseling and possibly gender reassignment surgery while they are in prison, according to new rules adopted by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons as part of a court settlement.
A May 31 memo issued to wardens at the nation's 116 federal prisons and made public by gay rights groups in announcing the settlement Friday states, "current, accepted standards of care" will be applied to inmates who believe they are the wrong gender.
Under the bureau's previous policy, issued in 2005, only federal inmates with a preexisting diagnosis were eligible for transgender-related care, which was limited to treatments that would maintain them "only at the level of change which existed when they were incarcerated."
The new guidelines mean prisoners who were previously disqualified from treatment because they had not received any on the outside will now be eligible to begin hormone therapy to feminize or masculinize their features and to dress and live accordingly as part of individualized treatment plans.
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