Nicole Rose Campbell: Trans inmate who raped daughter can receive sex change surgery on taxpayer’s dime, judge rules

After spending years in prison, the inmate now identifies as a transgender woman and prefers to be called Nicole Rose Campbell


                            Nicole Rose Campbell: Trans inmate who raped daughter can receive sex change surgery on taxpayer’s dime, judge rules
Nicole Rose Campbell (Wisconsin Department of Corrections)

A transgender woman from Wisconsin, who is in prison for sexually assaulting her own daughter, is reportedly entitled by the Constitution to receive a sex change at the expense of the taxpayer, a federal judge ruled earlier this month. The woman, formerly identified as a male 49-year-old, Mark Allen Campbell, was sentenced to 34 years in prison in 2007 after she pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault against her own daughter. After spending years in prison, she now identifies as a transgender woman and prefers to be called Nicole Rose Campbell, according to The Post Millennial.

US District Judge James Peterson, in his ruling this month, stated that Campbell is entitled to a sex change surgery and that she should be moved to a woman’s prison while she awaits the operation. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, it could be a while before Campbell receives the surgery as there is only one surgeon in Wisconsin who performs sex changes.

Campbell reportedly will be the first person in Wisconsin to undergo a sex change procedure while in the custody of the state. Judge Peterson, in his ruling, wrote: “The rights of transgender persons and sex reassignment surgery remain politically controversial, even outside the prison context. And some members of the public are outraged at any effort to improve the health and well being of inmates. But the true public interest lies in alleviating needless suffering by those who are dependent on the government for their care.” He added: “I decline to impose any further prerequisites on Campbell’s sex reassignment surgery; she has waited long enough.”

Campbell was first incarcerated in Racine Correctional Institute, which is a men’s prison in Sturtevant, Wisconsin. She first requested a sex change operation in 2013, however, her request was denied. Regardless of the official decision, Campbell has been dressing as a woman while receiving female hormones and transgender counseling.

Campbell, in 2016, had filed a lawsuit alleging that her Eighth Amendment rights were being violated because the officials from the Department of Corrections (DOC) were “indifferent” to her “medical needs.” She alleged that the officials, thereby, had subjected her to cruel and unusual punishment of not being allowed to undergo a sex change. The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, however, in a 2-1 decision ruled that the officials were immune to damage in a lawsuit because they could not have anticipated that denying Campbell a sex change would violate her rights.

The dissenting judge in the case, Diane Wood, in her ruling, however, stated that the Department of Corrections was indifferent to Campbell’s condition, which could lead to self-harm or self-castration. She suggested that if Campbell was not provided the surgery, it was possible that she would castrate her penis with her own hands. The convict's lawyer agreed with Judge Wood's statement and said that although the DOC medical director was respectful towards Campbell and permitted her to live as a woman in prison, they have refused to change their policy on sex change to accommodate Campbell's request.
 
Judge Diane Sykes, in her decision, wrote: “The Eighth Amendment requires prison healthcare professionals to exercise medical judgment when making decisions about an inmate’s treatment. And they cannot completely deny the care of a serious medical condition. But cases recognizing those broad principles could not have warned these defendants that treating an inmate’s gender dysphoria with hormone therapy and deferring consideration of sex-reassignment surgery violates the Constitution.”

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