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Cross-gender hormones are provided to two Oklahoma inmates

The state Corrections Department provides cross-gender hormones to only two of the nearly 25,000 inmates serving time in Oklahoma prisons.
by Andrew Knittle Published: March 16, 2013

The state Corrections Department provides cross-gender hormones to two of the nearly 25,000 inmates serving time in Oklahoma prisons.

Department spokesman Jerry Massie said the state prison system will provide such hormones “when it's medically appropriate,” but that such cases are rare.

The department is being sued by a male inmate who wants hormones, laser hair removal, counseling and eventually a sex-change operation as treatment for gender identity disorder, with which the inmate claims to be afflicted.

Ronny Darnell, a convicted rapist serving a lengthy sentence at James Crabtree Correctional Center, filed the lawsuit against the state Corrections Department in 2012, claiming he is being punished in a cruel and unusual fashion because the state agency won't treat his condition.

Gender identity disorder is characterized by an overwhelming sense by those afflicted that they would be happier if they were the opposite sex. Darnell is not being treated by prison doctors for the disorder, which is commonly referred to as GID.

“There's only one official GID offender,” Massie said. “On this particular person ... they had had some procedures done prior to incarceration, so it's medically appropriate to prescribe the hormones.”

Massie said the other inmate is receiving cross-gender hormones “for a medical issue not related to GID.”

The hormones, which Massie did not name, range in price. The monthly prescription for one of the inmates is $158.73. The other's is only $3.73 per month.

What Darnell is wanting would likely cost more than what the department is paying now.

Inmate's claim

In a court filing, the 44-year-old inmate claims that he is deeply depressed and has tried to castrate himself multiple times while behind bars.

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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