EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

January 6, 2013

Your view: Letters to the editor

(Continued)

Rep. Lyons has decried the ruling, and the legal fees the state must pay Kosilek’s lawyers, on the grounds that law-abiding citizens aren’t given the same state-funded medical treatment as incarcerated criminals. I share his outrage about the untold numbers of people who cannot access necessary medical treatment for GID or other serious medical conditions.

But regardless of whether that great injustice is remedied or not, prison officials are still constitutionally obligated to provide appropriate medical treatment to prisoners. As Judge Wolf noted in his ruling, DOC provides many inmates with Hepatitis B medication, which costs $18,000 annually per inmate; others receive costly dialysis treatment.

We don’t pick and choose which inmates get treatment. We can’t carve out a wholesale exception for transgender inmates who are prescribed a course of treatment by a doctor. We can’t do it for murderers either. This is long established law.

Lee Swislow

Executive director

Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders

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