Taxpayers To Foot Bill for Terrorist’s Sex Change

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A transgender inmate who goes by the name Cristina Iglesias has not spent a day outside of federal prison as an adult. Iglesias was locked up in 1994 for sending death threats to federal judges and then pleaded guilty in 2005 to mailing fake anthrax to U.S. allies in the earliest days of the War on Terror. Now, thanks to a judge’s ruling, Iglesias is set to become the first transgender inmate to undergo sex-reassignment surgery—on the taxpayer dime.

Iglesias in 2020 became the poster child of the American Civil Liberties Union‘s quest to ensure even the most hardened criminals enjoy transgender rights, and the civil rights group that once focused its energies on free speech sued the government, arguing that denying the costly surgery is a violation of Iglesias’s constitutional rights. U.S. District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel agreed, writing in an opinion issued last month that “Iglesias suffers daily and is at risk of self-mutilation and suicide.”

Iglesias, 47, is set for release on Christmas Day, but wants the surgery before that time—and Rosentengel is ordering the Bureau of Prisons to find a surgeon to carry out the sex change. Cost estimates for the surgery itself vary widely. Some hospital estimates reach six figures, while the Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery pegs the figure at about $25,000. Pricey quality-of-life care is required for years after the surgery, running about $40,000 annually in the first five years, according to a 2015 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The cost falls to $10,000 per year after a decade. The Bureau of Prisons declined to say whether taxpayers will provide that support.

New Biden administration policy requires prison officials to use a transgender inmate’s preferred name and pronouns and consider housing transgender inmates in prisons matching their “lived gender.”

Federal policy doesn’t require surgery in every case, but left-wing groups like the ACLU are now using cases like Iglesias’s to make sure it is widely available for inmates. There are about 1,300 transgender inmates in federal jails, according to a Bureau of Prison spokeswoman.

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