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Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Jessica Hicklin, a 37-year-old transgender woman incarcerated at the Potosi Correctional Center, a facility for male inmates, in Mineral Point, Missouri.

The case challenges a Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) “freeze-frame” policy that bars access to hormone therapy for inmates and others in custody if they were not receiving treatment prior to incarceration.

Although multiple medical and mental health experts have confirmed Jessica’s gender dysphoria diagnosis and have strongly advised hormone therapy, access to gender-affirming canteen items, and permanent hair removal in accordance with current treatment standards, MDOC officials continue to deny Jessica these medically necessary interventions.

Jessica has exhausted the MDOC grievance process in seeking to access appropriate care.

Jessica, who has been incarcerated for 21 years, was convicted of first degree murder and armed criminal action when she was just 16. She was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole and 100 years.

Because she was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole as a juvenile, her sentence will be reviewed pursuant to recent Supreme Court decisions that determined that such sentences are unconstitutional.

Jessica has used her time in prison productively and positively: participating in restorative justice activities, facilitating a class on the impact of crime on victims, and volunteering with the Puppies for Parole program, where she works with rescue dogs who would otherwise be euthanized so they can be adopted.