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Taxpayers are paying for transgender transition procedures in US prisons, internal docs show

Taxpayer-funded gender transition surgeries for transgender inmates in U.S. prisons approved by a recent Federal Bureau of Prisons memo discovered via FOIA request.

Taxpayers are paying for transgender inmates in U.S. prisons to transition to another gender if a medical assessment deems it necessary, according to a June Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) memo obtained by the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project.

The memo, discovered through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request this week, details the “immediate implementation” of a new pathway for inmates to undergo invasive surgery to transition to their desired gender. The last time clinical guidance for BOP was released was in 2016.

All evaluations and procedures are overseen by an advisory group called the Transgender Clinical Care team. Medical review meetings are attended by a pharmacist, psychiatrist, physician and social worker from the group.


“Healthcare providers should utilize a gender-affirming approach, including using the individual’s preferred name and pronouns during each clinical encounter,” the memo reads under the section Gender-Affirming Medical Assessment. “This also includes using non-gender specific terminology (ex. genital instead of penis/vagina or chest instead of breast) for anatomical body parts or asking if the patient has a preferred term to be used.”

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Some operations listed in the BOP clinical guidelines funded by taxpayers include hormone therapy, feminization and masculinization procedures such as permanent hair removal, male chest contouring, breast augmentation, scrotoplasty, hysterectomy and other surgical operations.

“It’s crazy when you look at the document, the sophistication of the apparatus they built to govern just transitioning prisoners,” Mike Howell, director of the Oversight Project — Heritage Foundation’s investigative branch — told Fox News Digital in an interview.

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“And we have other investigative work that shows in state prisons, overwhelmingly and disproportionately transgender prisoners account for sex crimes,” he said. “And we’re just like, diluting these people with taxpayer dollars and giving them surgeries.”

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Sam Dewey, Heritage Foundation’s attorney, said the BOP guidelines apply to all federal inmates, regardless of what crime they are serving time for.

“So this policy applies not to some kid who made some mistake, got caught up with the wrong people on the streets,” he told Fox News Digital. “This would apply here and there for hardened criminals.”

“And why are our tax dollars going to that, when these people are in jail to be punished?” he said.

Lawsuits have already been underway for transgender inmates seeking sex reassignment surgery. A Minnesota transgender inmate is being moved to a women’s prison and will receive a vaginoplasty as well as $495,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections, according to a June ruling.

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The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in August against the Indiana Department of Corrections on behalf of a transgender inmate, Jonathan C. Richardson, also known as Autumn Cordellionè, who was convicted of strangling his 11-month-old stepdaughter to death in 2001.

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Fox News Digital has reached out to BOP for comment. 

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