Transgender inmate transfers to Oregon women's prison

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon said Michalle Wright (pictured) had been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment because she was denied hormone treatment and counseling. (via ACLU Oregon)

WILSONVILLE, Ore. – A transgender female prisoner was transferred to the state’s women’s prison Monday following a lawsuit she and the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon filed against the Oregon Department of Corrections.

Michalle Wright, 27, is now at the Coffee Creek Correctional Institution in Wilsonville. She was transferred from the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem.

Wright’s lawsuit claimed she was denied essential medical care while in custody.

She was arrested in 2013 and convicted of attempted armed robbery.

Her earliest release date is November 2018.

The ACLU says the outcome of Wright’s lawsuit fundamentally changed how the Oregon Department of Corrections treats transgender and gender nonconforming prisoners. The institution will now provide inmates with access to doctors with experience treating transgender people, providing mental health treatment, hormone therapy treatment, and if medically necessary, gender confirmation surgery.

“We are grateful that Oregon Department of Corrections is making improvements to safety and health of transgender people in Oregon’s prisons and applaud new management protocol to provide appropriate care,” said Amy Herzfeld-Copple, co-executive director of Basic Rights Oregon.

Wright has identified as female since she was a teenager. She was unable to begin hormone therapy prior to being incarcerated.

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