A dispatch from Portland, Oregon: a transgender female prisoner was transferred to a state women’s prison this week following a lawsuit she and the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon filed against the Oregon Department of Corrections.
27-year-old Michalle Wright is now at the Coffee Creek Correctional Institution in Wilsonville. She was transferred 30 miles from the Men’s Oregon State Correctional Institution in nearby Salem, the Oregon State Capital.
Wright’s lawsuit claimed she was denied essential medical care while in custody.
The ACLU says the outcome of Wright’s lawsuit fundamentally changes 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.
Basic Rights Oregon issued this statement:
“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.”
Wright was arrested in 2013 and convicted of attempted armed robbery. Her earliest release date is November 2018. She has identified as female since she was a teenager, and was unable to start hormone therapy prior to being incarcerated.
Basic Rights Oregon is a non-profit that works to ensure that all LGBTQ Oregonians experience equality by building a broad and inclusive politically powerful movement, shifting public opinion, and achieving policy victories.