Photo: Left, Robert Kosilek following his arraignment in 1990; Right, Koselik dressed up as Michelle in 1993.
BOSTON(CBS/AP) Convicted killer Michelle Kosilek has hairy legs and wants you to pay for the electrolysis treatments needed to make them as smooth as a baby's behind.
Born as Robert Kosilek, Michelle Kosilek has been waiting for years for a judge in Boston to rule on a request for a taxpayer-funded sex-change operation in order to complete the prisoner's transformation into a woman.
But the transgender jailbird says he will settle for electrolysis for the time being. Kosilek goes before a judge today to see if the court will allow it.
The murderer has already had seven electrolysis treatments in years past before they were discontinued.
Once an addiction counselor, Kosilek was convicted of killing of his wife. He dumped the body in a car outside a local shopping mall and went missing. Kosilek was ultimately captured in New Rochelle, NY.
In 1993, while in prison, he legally changed his name to Michelle.
Kosilek wanted the Massachusetts Department of Correction to pay for the sex-change, and sued the state twice for the funds, even though he had been receiving hormones at the prison. The prisoner said hormones and other treatments have not been enough to relieve his suffering, and said he would likely commit suicide if he does not get the surgery.
Massachusetts Correction Commissioner Kathleen Dennehy has said that if Kosilek has the surgery, prison officials believe Kosilek could end up being a target of sexual assault in prison.
"The safety and security concerns are enormous," Dennehy testified.
The case has become fodder for radio talk shows, where the topic of whether the state should pay for a sex-change operation for a convicted murderer often attracts outraged callers.
In addition to the cost — estimates for sex-change operations are in the $10,000 to $20,000 range — prison officials cite the safety risks of housing a male inmate who has been transformed into a female.
Sen. Bruce E. Tarr of Gloucester, Mass., has filed legislation barring the state from paying for the "sex reassignment" surgeries.
Courts in several states have ordered prison systems to allow transgender inmates to receive psychotherapy and, in some cases, hormone shots. Some states allow inmates to continue hormone treatments if they are already on hormones when they begin their sentences.
But most do not allow inmates to initiate hormone therapy while in prison, and many states do not have any written policy for the treatment of transgender inmates.
In a 2002 ruling, the corrections department allowed Kosilek to receive female hormones and laser hair removal. He was also given access to female undergarments and some makeup.
U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf said earlier this year that he has not shown he will suffer "serious harm" without further electrolysis treatments. The judge may, today, revisit the decision if more information comes to light in state Department of Correction documents.
Kosilek's lawyer argued in court this year that there is "serious medical need" for the treatments, which were discontinued in October after seven sessions. The attorney, Joseph Sulman, said halting the treatment has negatively affected Kosilek's mental health.
A Department of Correction lawyer said there are cheaper alternatives for hair removal, including depilatories and shaving.
Sulman countered that shaving is a "quintessential male" activity.
WHAT DO YOU THINK: Should Massachusettes pay for Kosilek's electrolysis treatments or sex change operation?
PREVIOUSLY ON CRIMESIDER
August 1, 2008 - Tax Dollars At Work: Will State Pay for Wife-Killer's Sex Change?
August 10, 2008 - Pretty in Prison: Cross-Dressing Wife-Killer Wants Smooth Legs