In a decision that could impact future court decisions for transgender inmates in Texas, a federal appeals court has upheld a ruling striking down a Wisconsin law banning publicly funded hormone therapy for transgendered inmates, saying denying the treatment amounted to torture.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision came on August 12 in a case brought by a group of male inmates who identify as female. They argued they needed the hormones to treat their gender identity disorder, and not having them would lead to severe health problems.
The state appealed after a federal judge struck down the 2005 law last year.
A three-judge panel of the appeals court upheld the ruling, saying the law violates a constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment because it denies medical treatment.
“Surely, had the Wisconsin Legislature passed a law that DOC inmates with cancer must be treated only with therapy and pain killers, this court would have no trouble concluding that the law was unconstitutional,” the appeals court judges wrote. “Refusing to provide effective treatment for a serious medical condition serves no valid penological purpose and amounts to torture.”