USA: transgender inmate ruling could change prison policy

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada must comply with a recent federal appeals court ruling requiring that inmates receive state-funded gender confirmation surgery.

Attorney General Aaron Ford was asked about the case involving an inmate in Idaho, but said the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision applies to all states in the circuit, which includes Nevada, the Las Vegas Sun reports.

The Court of Appeals upheld a decision in August requiring Idaho to pay for the surgery altering the sexual characteristics of an inmate to match their gender identity.

“On controversial issues where reasonable minds may disagree, agencies such as myself at the attorney general’s office don’t get to make the final decision on whether something is constitutional or not. The courts get to decide that,” Ford said.

Inmate Adree Edmo, who suffers from gender dysphoria, requested the surgery and attempted self-castration twice while in prison, officials said. Denying the surgery would constitute cruel and unusual punishment, the court ruling said.

The American Civil Liberties Union has pushed for years to change Nevada’s transgender inmate policy and the court ruling affirms the belief that the current policy is unconstitutional, officials said.

The Idaho ruling set a precedent for cases in other states, including Nevada, Ford said.

Nevada is expected to follow the Idaho case to see if it is picked up by the Supreme Court, Ford said.

“We will take a look at the timing on this for statutory purposes to see if this is going to be a settled issue in our jurisdiction for an extended period of time, or potentially be overturned by June of next year,” Ford said.

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