A 57-year-old convicted killer serving a life sentence has become the first U.S. inmate to receive state-funded sex-reassignment surgery, the prisoner's attorneys confirmed Friday, according to the Associated Press, reports the LA Times.
California prison officials agreed in August 2015 to pay for the surgery for Shiloh Heavenly Quine, who was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery for ransom.
Quine has no possibility of parole.
The first U.S. inmate to have state-funded sex reassignment
Quine's case led the state to become the first to set standards that will allow other transgender inmates to apply to receive state-funded sex-reassignment surgery.
It also prompted a federal magistrate to require California to provide transgender female inmates housed in men's facilities with more female-oriented items such as nightgowns, scarves and necklaces.
This June 11, 2015, file photo provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Shiloh Heavenly Quine.
Quine has been living as a woman in a California men's prison.
What's the cost?
Joyce Hayhoe, a spokeswoman for the federal court-appointed official who controls California's prison medical care, said the cost of sex-reassignment surgeries could approach $100,000.
Attorneys at the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center said that figure was exaggerated. A portion of the state's expense generally is reimbursed by the federal government, Hayhoe said. The percentage varies depending on individual circumstances, but it can cover up to 95% of allowable charges.
How does the victim's family feel?
The daughter of Quine's victim said she objects to inmates getting taxpayer-funded surgery that is not readily available to non-criminals, regardless of the cost.
“My dad begged for his life,” said Farida Baig, who tried unsuccessfully to block Quine's surgery through the courts. “It just made me dizzy and sick. I'm helping pay for his surgery; I live in California. It's kind of like a slap in the face.”
A 'victory for all transgendered people'
“For too long, institutions have ignored doctors and casually dismissed medically necessary and life-saving care for transgender people just because of who we are,” said Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, which represents Quine and other transgender inmates.
Quine will be moved to a women's prison after the operation, her attorneys said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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