A convicted killer serving a life sentence in California became the first U.S. inmate to receive state-funded sex-reassignment surgery, the prisoner’s attorneys confirmed Friday to The Los Angeles Times.
California prison officials agreed in August 2015 to pay for the surgery for 57-year-old Shiloh Heavenly Quine, who was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery for ransom and has no possibility of parole. Quine will be moved to a women’s prison after the operation, which was performed at a hospital in San Francisco.
Quine told a prison psychologist who recommended her for the operation that it would bring a “drastic, internal completeness.”
She expects it will end a dysfunction and depression so deep that she tried to cut and hang herself in prison five times, most recently in 2014 when she was initially told she could not have the operation.
Quine said she tried unsuccessfully to amputate her genitalia when she was about 19, three years before she went to prison and roughly the same time she tried self-medicating with illegally purchased female hormones.
She and an accomplice are serving life terms for kidnapping and fatally shooting 33-year-old Shahid Ali Baig in downtown Los Angeles in February 1980, stealing $80 and his car during a drug- and alcohol-fueled rampage.
The cost of sex-reassignment surgeries could approach $100,000, including procedures and medications before and after the operation. A portion of the state’s expense will generally be reimbursed by the federal government.The percentage varies depending on individual circumstances, but it can cover up to 95 percent of allowable charges.