California Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he would not take any action on the state’s Board of Parole Hearings’ conclusions that a transgender inmate should be released from jail.
The inmate is already at the core of a controversy because he is trying to force The Golden State to cover sex-change procedures’ costs.
The Governor’s recent announcement means that there are no legal obstacles and his parole can proceed.
Three months ago, a federal judge ruled the California state should cover surgery expenses. The procedure was slated for last month but it was delayed because state attorneys appealed the decision shortly after the board decided to approve the parole.
That move means that the state prison won’t be forced to support the costs for sex reassignment procedures because it usually takes less than a week for all legal hurdles to be settled before an inmate can walk free.
The Governor approved the parole because he thinks Michelle-Lael Norsworthy, 51, represents no longer a threat to society after he had served nearly 30 years in prison. In the fall of 1985, Norsworthy shot dead Franklin Gordon Liefer in a local bar over a minor argument.
The transgender, who was identified as a male back then, faced charges of second-degree murder since he shot his victim three times. Liefer entered a coma and died six weeks later.
Norsworthy is now imprisoned at a men’s prison near Sacramento. Official papers still identify him as Jeffrey Bryan Norsworthy despite him identifying as a woman since the ’90s.
He started hormone therapy in 1999 after being diagnosed with gender identity disorder. But in 2012, he requested a state court to allow him to undergo next-stage procedures and the prison to cover for the expenses. Norsworthy heard that a similar request was granted to an inmate in Massachusetts.
But the decision was overturned late last year. A hearing for California’s appeal was slated Thursday. Defense attorneys argued that denying the inmate the sex-change surgery would infringe his rights against cruel punishment.
But the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation recently reported that it didn’t hinder in any way the inmate in his decision of going for a sex-change procedure. The prison provided Norsworthy with a mental health counselor and possibility to take female hormones while he was still serving jail time.
The CDCR agreed to a similar surgery for a 56-year-old inmate this Friday. That inmate’s mental health was assessed by a professional who concluded that the procedure was a medical necessity for him. The inmate was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, robbery, and kidnapping.
Image Source: Aclusocal
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