Coddling murderers nothing but nanny state nonsense
On July 23, 2007, Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky raped and murdered Jennifer Hawke-Petit along with her two daughters, 11-year-old Michaela and 17-year-old Hayley. The specifics of this atrocity are so gruesome that decorum prevents me from expounding on all the details – but be aware that prior to being burned alive the young girls were abused, tortured and sodomized. The crime was so overtly diabolical and wicked both men justifiably received the death penalty.
In 2009, the Connecticut General Assembly sent legislation to abolish the state's death penalty to Governor M. Jodi Rell's, who promptly vetoed the bill citing the Cheshire murders as the reason. Rell said, "The crimes that were committed on that brutal July night were so far out of the range of normal understanding that now, more than three years later, we still find it difficult to accept that they happened in one of our communities. I have long believed that there are certain crimes so heinous, so depraved, that society is best served by imposing the ultimate sanction on the criminal. Steven Hayes stands convicted of such crimes – and today the jury has recommended that he should be subjected to the death penalty. I agree."
In 2012 the General Assembly tried again, sending legislation to the governor’s desk and this time they found a more sympathetic ally. Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed the legislation making Connecticut the 17th state to abolish capital punishment for any future cases. At that time the men on death row allegedly were still going to be executed, but as expected and predicted by most critics of the bill, the Connecticut Supreme Court followed up and declared all capital punishment inconsistent with the state constitution, effectively commuting the killers' sentences to life imprisonment.
The death of the death penalty and the end of capital punishment in Connecticut allowed Hayes and Komisarjevsky to narrowly escape the lethal liquid concoction of pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, and sodium thiopental. The guilt-free Constitution State unburdened itself from the shackles of equitable justice setting the precedent that murder in our state would be looked upon with extreme sympathy. In lieu of being six-feet-under, both killers are very much alive with one of the convicts planning on living his/her life to the fullest.
Steven Hayes communicated to the outside world from his maximum-security prison cell in Greene County, Pennsylvania that he is transgender and is undergoing hormone therapy in prison. Just in case you missed the previous sentence, a mass murderer and convicted rapist has begun transitioning from male to female in prison! He sits in the Quaker State jailhouse because Departments of Correction in other states, often as part of the Interstate Corrections Compact, agree to accept inmates from each other’s prisons for reasons of safety and security.
The cost of transitioning can be overwhelming. Well, overwhelming if you’re the one paying the bills. The monthly hormone injections can run upwards of $150 per every 30 days; the therapist needed to help mentally transition an individual can be $200 per hour; top and bottom surgeries can run close to $50,000; and if Steven is in fact "all in" to becoming a woman, potential facial reconstruction can set transgenders back another $50,000.
Thankfully, according to Maria Finn, a spokesperson for Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, inmates in Pennsylvania can only receive a maximum of $600 for medication to treat gender dysphoria. Surgery is not covered.
As for the cost of health care generally, aside from occasionally paying pennies on the dollar potential co-pays, incarcerated inmates normally pay nothing. The taxpayers absorb the cost for almost all normal health-related scenarios. Inmates don't have to do anything to be eligible for medical benefits, other than be incarcerated.
The Eighth Amendment forbids “cruel and unusual punishment” and is the most important amendment for prisoners. It has been interpreted to prohibit excessive force and guard brutality, as well as unsanitary, dangerous or overly restrictive conditions. It is also the source for their right to medical care in prison.
I agree that confined convicts should get life-saving care when the situation presents itself. They should get yearly check-ups, and every reasonable effort should be made to keep them healthy. However, there should be a limit to what they have access to and how many taxpayer dollars should be allocated. In cases of capital felonies, inmates should not have access to expensive forms of chemotherapy or dialysis. Common sense would dictate they should not be offered hormone therapy. The thought that this man will be afforded those luxuries while those two young girls and their mother were slaughtered is unconscionable.
This column is not anti-transgender, it's anti-psychopath. I do not want one penny of my hard-earned tax dollars diverted to a butcher who raped, burned and killed an entire family.
Lee Elci is the morning host for 94.9 News Now radio, a station that provides "Stimulating Talk" with a conservative bent.
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