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Under a special agreement, the Army sends its female prisoners to a Navy women’s jail in Miramar, Calif. It also has an agreement under which it can send soldiers to federal civilian prisons.
Greg Rinckey, a former Army prosecutor and now a lawyer in Albany, N.Y., said Manning’s statement could be a ploy to get transferred to a civilian prison.
5 questions about Manning’s future
The Army private sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking reams of classified information to WikiLeaks issued a statement Thursday as a transgender woman. The soldier asked to be called Chelsea Manning instead of Bradley Manning and stated a desire for hormone therapy. Here are some questions and answers about this change:
When did Manning come to this realization? » According to Manning’s online chats with confidant-turned-informant Adrian Lamo, it was in the first few months of Manning’s deployment to Iraq, which started in October 2009. Manning spent a few days cross-dressed while on leave in the United States in January-February 2010 and created Twitter and YouTube accounts under the name Breanna Manning. Manning revealed the female persona in a photograph emailed to an Army supervisor in April 2010, about a month before his arrest for the WikiLeaks disclosures. The Bradley Manning Support Network said in July 2012 that as far as it knew, Manning wanted to be called Brad or Bradley “until he’s able to get to the next stage of his life.”
What will prison conditions be like for Manning? » Fort Leavenworth, Kan., is an all-male prison but the staff has some leeway to separate soldiers from the other inmates based on the risk to themselves and others, prison spokesman George Marcec said. Advocates said gays and transgender people are more susceptible to sexual assault and other violence in prison.
How can Manning dress in prison? » Leavenworth is an all-male prison. Uniforms are brown, usually “heavily starched,” and inmates can buy their own shoes, which is where their fashion individuality shows, Marcec said. He said Manning won’t be allowed to wear a wig or bra. Manning’s hair will have to be kept to military standards, Marcec said.
Can Manning get hormone therapy in military prison? » Army spokesman George Wright said the Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery. He said soldiers behind bars are given access to psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.
What does Manning’s lawyer say? » Defense attorney David Coombs told NBC’s “Today Show” he will do “everything in my power” to make sure Manning gets his way. Military legal experts say that if Fort Leavenworth officials don’t provide the hormone treatment, Coombs may seek to have Manning moved to a civilian federal prison, where hormone therapy is offered to those with gender-identity disorder.
"He might be angling to go there because he believes life at a federal prison could be easier than life at the disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth," Rinckey said.
He also said the military is adamant about not providing hormone treatment: "You enlisted as a male, you’re a male, you’re going to be incarcerated as a male."
Associated Press writers Lauran Neergaard and Sagar Meghani in Washington and John Milburn in Topeka, Kan., contributed to this report.
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