A U.S. district judge decided last week that California prisons must offer “compression” undergarments for their transgender prisoners. Compression underwear flattens chests, for women who are trying to become men.
While prisons do have those items available for prisoners to buy, the judge says that this is not acceptable as some inmates that “need” the compression underwear cannot get access to it. It must be provided by the state’s prisons. Guess what funds those? Taxpayer money.
The result in this case comes about from a larger lawsuit where prisoners are demanding access to the opposite sexes’ undergarments and other clothing. The prison argues that these items are withheld not to discriminate, but to prevent prisoners from obtaining disguises.
The Free Beacon reports:
A U.S. district judge last week ordered California state prison officials to provide free chest-flattening underwear, also known as compression tops, to transgender inmates at women’s prisons and feminine accessories to transgender inmates at men’s prisons.
Requiring inmates to buy compression tops “effectively” denies those items to individuals who cannot afford them, according to U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar, who issued the order on Friday. Taxpayers, therefore, must foot the bill.
The order came out of a lawsuit concerning whether transgender prisoners should have access to certain clothing and accessories that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation argues could be altered as a disguise, aiding in escape attempts, the Associated Press reported.
Authorities fear inmates could alter items like nightgowns, robes, and scarves to look like street clothes and escape prison. Still, Tigar expanded the list of products prisoners could receive to include those items, among others.
As part of the order, men’s prisons must provide bracelets, earrings, hair brushes, and hair clips for transgender inmates. One judge worried that some of the products posed safety risks to prisoners, but Tigar objected, arguing that items such as earrings and bracelets could be made from materials like rubber.
Shiloh Quine, a 57-year-old transgender inmate born as Rodney James Quine, brought the suit while serving a life sentence for murder, kidnapping, and robbery. Quine was born male and received a taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgery in 2015, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
California was the first state to charge taxpayers for a transgender inmate’s sex reassignment surgery.