On September 7, 2022, Ashlee Inscoe underwent an urgent surgical procedure that will protect her physical and mental health and affirm her gender. She has been fighting to have this surgery approved by prison officials for several years.
Emancipate NC Strategic Director & Attorney Elizabeth Simpson has represented Ms. Inscoe in advocacy efforts to obtain this surgery since Summer 2021. Counsel, along with TGI Justice and InterACT, sent the first demand letter seeking surgery on August 10, 2021.
According to North Carolina Department of Public Safety medical records, the surgery was initially approved as medically-necessary by the Utilization Review Board on April 30, 2021, and later withdrawn “to await outcome by the Division Transgender Accommodation Review Committee (DTARC)” per a note on December 16, 2021. DTARC is an NCDPS committee that evaluates and manages issues related to transgender incarcerated people pursuant to state policy.
This summer, Ashlee’s physical and mental health have deteriorated. Counsel was informed via a medical records request that the procedure was approved again by the Utilization Review Board on August 12, 2022, and received confirmation from UNC Hospital that it conducted the surgery on September 7, 2022.
“If you’re going to incarcerate people, you need to give them the medical care that is up to standards. You need to treat people like human beings,” said Ms. Inscoe, in a recorded statement.
“The right to health care is protected by the U.S. Constitution and international human rights. Ashlee has needed this surgery for a very long time, and she has suffered without it. Unfortunately, North Carolina incarcerates far too many people in its state prisons and it has not provided adequate resources to take care of all their medical needs. Unconstitutional and inhumane medical treatment is the rule in our North Carolina prisons. In particular, transgender incarcerated people are suffering without necessary medical care and without respectful and humane conditions of confinement,” said Ms. Simpson.