The Constitution Requires that Chelsea Manning Should Receive Medical Care at Ft. Leavenworth

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August 22, 2013

Today following the announcement that Chelsea Manning may not receive proper care in prison, Lambda Legal issued the following statement by Transgender Rights Project Director Dru Levasseur in support of her medical care while serving time in Ft. Leavenworth:

Transgender peoplelike all peopledeserve health care and are constitutionally protected in prison. Period. In fact the U.S. Supreme Court has previously ruled in Farmer v. Brennan on the right of transgender people to be free from cruel and unusual punishment while in prison which includes withholding medically necessary treatment.

It would be a shame if the U.S. military prison system held itself to a lower standard than civil prisons. The Constitution requires that Chelsea Manning receive medical care at Ft. Leavenworthto do otherwise would be a violation of the Eighth Amendment.

In the 1994 seminal Eighth Amendment case involving a transgender plaintiff, Farmer v. Brennan, the court stated that "prison officials have a duty under the Eighth Amendment to provide humane conditions of confinement. They must ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care."

Just last year the U.S. Supreme Court declined review of a 7th Circuit decision in Fields v. Smith striking down as unconstitutional a Wisconsin law that barred medical care for transgender prisoners. Lambda Legal and the ACLU won that case on behalf of transgender prisoners. 

Click here for more information on Fields v. Smith.

Click here to read the press release.