Under a new policy change, transgender inmates in Texas prisons will be able to receive hormone therapy while behind bars.
Prior to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's recent change, only inmates taking hormones before their incarceration could be placed on hormone therapy in prison. The Agency's Jason Clark says the change came after the American Psychiatric Association listed gender dysphoria as a diagnosable disease.
In a written statement, Clark says that inmates would still have to go through a rigorous screening process by a gender dysphoria specialist and endocrinologist to measure and track their hormone levels.
Katie Sprinkle is a Dallas-attorney specializing in transgender legal issues. She calls the merits of the policy change less than ideal, but a step in the right direction.
"The big concern among most of us is implementation," she said. "How are they going to implement it? They got around 200 people that they've identified as being transgendered out of about a 150,000 prison population."
According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the state is currently treating 21 transgender inmates with hormone therapy. Ten of the inmates in that group were diagnosed and prescribed hormone therapy under the new policy change.
The story was first published by Texas Public Radio. It is part of the Texas Station Collaborative, a new joint project of KERA in North Texas, Houston Public Media, KUT in Austin and Texas Public Radio in San Antonio.