A convicted murderer who has long sought gender-affirming surgery was transferred from a men’s prison to a women’s prison in Topeka last week, at a time when inmates in the United States are increasingly being granted the procedure.
Michelle Renee Lamb, 81, became an inmate on Friday in the core unit of the Topeka Correctional Facility, according to Kansas Department of Corrections records.
Lamb, formerly known as Thomas Lamb, was formerly an inmate at El Dorado Correctional Facility, a men’s prison.
Lamb is serving three life sentences for the 1969 aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder of 24-year-old Patricia Sue Kemmerle and the 1970 aggravated kidnapping of 18-year-old Patricia Childs, both in Johnson County.
It was unclear Wednesday whether Lamb had received gender-affirming surgery. Lamb did not immediately respond to a message on the prison communications platform seeking comment.
Randall Bowman, executive director of public affairs at KDOC, declined to discuss Lamb’s specific situation.
“Due to patient privacy concerns, KDOC and the Governor’s Office cannot comment on the specifics of medical care for any individual,” he said.
KDOC officials don’t make decisions about health care, Bowman added.
He said that under KDOC’s contract with its health care provider, Centurion, no procedures affect the overall fee the agency pays for health care.
“Therefore, the cost of a single medical procedure for a resident is not passed directly onto taxpayers,” Bowman said.
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Inmates who sued won the right to gender confirmatory surgery elsewhere
Transgender inmates have increasingly been granted gender reassignment surgery in the United States in recent years
In what has been called a landmark decision, a federal judge last April ordered the US Bureau of Prisons to arrange for gender dysphoria patient Cristina Nichole Iglesias to become the first person to receive gender reassignment surgery. while in federal custody.
Gender dysphoria is a sense of unease about a person’s discrepancy between their biological sex and gender identity that is so severe that it can lead to depression and anxiety, with some progressing to self-harm and suicide.
Courts have also ordered gender reassignment surgery on inmates in Wisconsin and Idaho, while California maintains a policy granting inmates access to such surgery.
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Michelle Lamb sued asking for surgery
U.S. District Court records show that Lamb in 2016 sued KDOC and its then-healthcare provider, Corizon, claiming they violated Lamb’s Eighth Amendment rights by failing to effectively treat Dysphoria of type of Lamb in accordance with current medical standards and by housing Lamb in conditions that violated Lamb’s condition. constitutional rights.
Lamb had been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, the legal petition said.
Lamb has asked for more comprehensive treatment of that condition, access to more women’s articles in prison, recognition by the Corrections Department of the legal name change to “Michelle Renee Lamb” in 2007, and a transfer to a prison for only women.
U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren in July 2017 issued a summary judgment denying Lamb’s claims without trial.
The state and Corizon were obligated to treat Lamb’s gender dysphoria, but not in the specific way Lamb preferred, Melgren wrote.
An appeals court upheld that ruling in 2018.
The 1970 kidnapping was aimed at funding gender reassignment surgery
The Topeka Capital-Journal archives show that Lamb in January 1970 used a handgun to abduct Patricia Childs from an Overland Park mall parking lot, then forced her to phone her parents and demand a ransom, allegedly to pay a ransom. gender reassignment surgery for Lamb. Childs complied with Lamb’s order to tell her parents not to call the police.
But Childs’ father, Overland Park medical supplies salesman Joseph J. Childs, called the police. Officers surveyed the area involved when Joseph Childs met Lamb the next day in a parking lot near Olathe, where Joseph Childs exchanged money with his daughter.
As the police drove in, Lamb led the officers in a high-speed chase, which ended when Lamb’s car hit a police car at a checkpoint.
At Lamb’s home, police found a purse and other possessions belonging to Kemmerle, who had been strangled to death the previous month before her snow-covered, naked body was found in a cornfield near Olathe.
Five days after being arrested, Lamb and another inmate — who had come into possession of a gun while working as a prison administrator — captured a jailer and three dispatchers and locked them in a cell.
Lamb and the other inmate escaped, kidnapped a customer from a nearby bar and drove off with him in his car, but were later caught at a checkpoint.
In June 1970, Lamb was sentenced to three consecutive life terms for the first-degree murder of Kemmerle and the aggravated kidnappings of Kemmerle and Patricia Childs.
In 1979, Lamb escaped from Lansing Correctional Facility but was recaptured after leading police in a high-speed vehicle chase.
In 1987, Lamb escaped from Larned State Hospital, stole a car from its owner at knife point, then again led the police in a high-speed chase before being caught.
After Lamb was denied parole in 2001, Lamb filed a defamation lawsuit alleging that a Kansas City Star reporter had made false and defamatory statements in an article published while Lamb’s parole was being considered.
A federal appeals court ruled against Lamb in 2004, saying that Lamb’s actions had diminished Lamb’s reputation to the point that Lamb had become “libel-proof”.
Contact Tim Hrenchir at [email protected] or 785-213-5934.