Next Stop for Chelsea Manning: Civilian Prison?

Pentagon weighs transgender inmate's request

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 14, 2014 5:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – Chelsea Manning won't be allowed out of the military until she finishes her 35-year sentence for passing classified documents to WikiLeaks, but she could be on her way to a civilian prison soon. The Pentagon is trying to transfer the soldier formerly known as Bradley to a federal prison to receive the hormone treatment she has requested, reports the AP, which notes that Manning is the first transgender military inmate ever to make such a request—and courts may decide that not granting it constitutes cruel and usual punishment.

A Pentagon press secretary says discussions with the Federal Bureau of Prisons are at an early stage, no decision on transfer has been made yet, and any such decision "will, of course, properly balance the soldier's medical needs with our obligation to ensure she remains behind bars." Manning is now officially known as Chelsea after a judge granted a name change last month, but the military still considers her a man. While the military won't be discharging Manning anytime soon, other transgender service members are barred from serving after they take steps to transition to another sex. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, however, says that he wants to learn more about the issue, the Washington Post adds. "I believe that all qualified individuals who want to serve their country in uniform should have an opportunity to do that," he told reporters earlier this week.

Pfc. Chelsea Manning poses for a photo wearing a wig and lipstick.   (AP Photo/U.S. Army, File)
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