Michelle Kosilek: Federal judge rules Mass. prison must allow sex change for inmate (UPDATED)

In this Jan. 15, 1993 file photo, Robert Kosilek, now known as Michelle, is seen in Bristol County Superior Court, in New Bedford, Mass.

A federal judge ruled today in a potentially precedent-setting ruling that the state Department of Correction must allow an inmate to receive sexual reassignment surgery.

Robert Kosilek was convicted for killing his wife in 1990 is serving a life sentence without parole at a medium security prison in Norfolk. He now goes by Michelle Lynne Kosilek.

Chief Judge Mark Wolf issued a 126-page ruling today.

Kosilek sued the Department of Correction and claimed the department was allowing cruel and unusual punishment by denying him the sex change because he suffers from gender identity disorder.

“Kosilek shares with every other inmate in the DOC’s custody the right to have decisions concerning him made by prison officials reasonably and in good faith in order to assure that he is not again subject to the cruel and unusual punishment that the Eight Amendment prohibits,” Wolf wrote.

Diane Wiffin, a DOC spokeswoman, said the department just received the ruling and officials are reviewing it. She also said officials are reviewing appeal options.

Also released today were four letters to Wolf. Two are from the family of Cheryl Koselik and two are from Michelle Koselik. You can read Koselik’s most recent letter to Wolf below:


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