Already Getting Hormones, Some Want Sex Change OperationsBy Mike Luery

By Mike Luery

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California may be deep in debut, but taxpayers are shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars for hormone shots to make some male prisoners look more like women.

One of them is Yolanda Gonzalez, a transgender prisoner at California Medical Facility in Vacaville.

“I picked up a knife,” the convicted murderer told CBS 13 in an exclusive interview behind bars. She stabbed her husband to death in “the heart. Four, five times,” Gonzalez admitted.

Yolanda Gonzalez is behind bars for life, but serving time at a men’s prison. Yolanda has been receiving hormone therapy shots every two weeks to become more feminine.

“It gave me what I wanted which was my breasts,” the transgender inmate said.

And if you’re wondering who’s paying for Yolanda’s hormone shots, the answer is – you are – at a cost of $1,000 a year. And Yolanda is not alone.

Lisa Strawn, a convicted burglar with three strikes, is getting a hormone shot every week at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville – home to 2,800 male inmates.

“Is that something that you think is taxpayer dollars well spent?” I asked.

“For me, yes,” was Lisa’s response.

It may be good for Lisa, but not so good for taxpayers, who are shelling out an estimated $300,000 a year on hormones for California’s transgender inmates – some 300 in all, officials from the Medical Receiver’s office confirmed.

The courts have ruled that inmates with “gender identity disorders” must receive hormones behind bars if they were already getting treatments prior to prison.

“If they only knew how much this is costing us,” Harriet Salarno lamented. She is president of Crime Victims United, a support group based in Auburn.

CBS 13 talked to several crime victim families at the State Capitol, and they all expressed outrage over the taxpayer supported hormonal therapy.

“If it is something that is elective, I don’t believe we should be paying for it,” said Misty Foster, a member of Parents of Murdered Children. “They chose to commit a crime. That is why they are there.”

But transgender inmates we talked to insist that hormone treatments are part of their medical care. Lisa Strawn said, “And we just want to live our lives too just like everybody else.”

Yet some transgender prisoners want to take it even further. Lyralisa Stevens has filed a lawsuit against the state.

Stevens is demanding that taxpayers foot the bill for their sex change operations, which can cost up to $50,000 each, prison officials told CBS 13.

Crime victims had this reaction:

“The way our economy is, the way we are struggling and they’re doing this? This is outrageous,” said Harriet Salarno of Crime Victims United.

“It’s not our responsibility to help them do that surgery,” said Lori Auteri, a crime victim advocate from Yolo County. “I mean there are several things that I would like to have plastic surgery done to myself and nobody’s paying for that for myself.”

The transgender inmates interviewed by CBS 13 said they don’t support the lawsuit – and they definitely don’t want sex change operations – because doing so would mean they could no longer be around male prisoners.

Yolanda said, “If I was to have a sex change I would be transferred to a woman’s institution.” Gonzalez added, “I couldn’t be with a woman, it’s not in me to be with a woman.”

California is officially fighting the sex-change lawsuit. Lawyers for the state have filed papers in court saying sexual reassignment surgery is not required under the constitution and is not medically necessary.

If you find examples of government waste, send us an e-mail to You can also follow On The Money stories in progress via Twitter at!/mikeluery.

Comments (19)
  1. Michael Pereira Mohr says:

    Medical care is the major driver of correctional costs, contrary to public opinion that it’s officer salaries being the primary driver. The kind of care that inmates receive is superb due to court rulings that have forced correctional administrators to guarantee the best in medical care. I emphasize the word, “best.”

  2. phill says:

    I feel we shouldn’t be responsible for paying for their care, medically, housing or food. I say we make it like school loans. we just add all their expenses up at the end and they must pay it back once they are released.

    1. Retired old Guy says:

      You are very naice and foolish. You don’t have a clue about this and should not be commenting about something you know nothing about.

  3. woodgrain says:

    Unbelievable we’ve been forking over for garbage like this. It’s a crime in itself. Regular people don’t have this type of luxury and these are CRIMINALS!

  4. phill says:

    This is for retired old cart…..I mean old guy. I am not being foolish. I do know more then you on this topic. I am study criminal justice. Us tax payers are being taken through the cleaners with taxes to pay for stuff we shouldn’t. a sex change is one of them. education is another. Unless a company receives grant to hire a criminal who hires one over someone without a record. I am talking about the big picture. US paying for your sex change or helping you be medicated to stay the other sex through hormones……not my problem. if you didn’t do the crime in the first place, you wouldn’t be locked up. take responsibility for your actions.

    1. Nope says:

      Phil, did you say you studied criminal justice? Did you study grammar? While I don’t believe that we should be paying so much for criminals, you do have to realize that once these prisoners do come out they will most likely have a hard time finding a job which means they will have a hard time paying the “loans” that you’re talking about. What difference would it make if the companies were paid grants to hire someone with a record then over someone without a record? That would be costing us money and also taking jobs away from someone who never committed a crime. All of my points are based on what seems to be your viewpoint. It doesn’t work.

  5. Tom says:

    WOW! we do not have money for schools the state can’t pay there bills and here is your liberal legal system and goverment spending our tax money in this way and you can tell the liberal media is all for.Why do people think they deserve to have this done . There in prison to be punished not cattered to .My view is if there in there for life drop them off on the fairlon islands tell them to swim to shore if they make it there free LMAO

  6. barry O. says:

    Thank the politicians who are supported by the liberals………….The end of America……….. ……….

  7. Frank Rogers-Smith says:

    There is something very wrong when our tax dollars are being spent on garbage like this while our brave men and women (who have given up their freedoms to defend ours) have to jump through hoops to be “made whole” after being injure during their service. DISGRACEFUL!!!

  8. LisainSac says:

    Give them the BARE necessaries in food, housing and medical care. They should earn the right to an education or privileges by working and for “rehabilitation” , well lets just admit that it really doesn’t work. They should not be benefiting from there crimes, otherwise, do a crime thats worth say 2 years time, then get all your teeth fixed, get an education and a sex change, then re-enter the world all beautified- all on the tax payer dime.

  9. do a crime and you will be rewarded says:

    so if i am in prison i will be rewarded but if i am a person who works and pay’s taxes i will not be rewarded this is some system why work? be in prison you will get housing,food the best in medical care and when you are released you will get the same care all for doing a the crime and do no time so why am i working?

  10. Tom says:

    The big problem is thier are to many people in California that do not vote .So when trash like this gets there groups together to vote they get the politician in office that votes for this kind of poop spending we need to get out and vote to here are voices hured don’t you think

  11. Sign me up! says:

    I am certainly appalled with this….how can “Club Fed” have this type of health coverage. These inmates get more health coverage than those that are on the outside? Where else can you go and get 3 hots and a cot, full healthcare coverage, a gym, t.v., library….and more! Now, you did say they comitted crimes and that is the reason why they are incarcerated, right? Club Fed is defininetly the new name as prison is nothing more than a glorified vacation and health spa for those that have comitted crimes. Reward these folks….?? I believe the just thing to do is transport them out to an island surrounded by pirahanna where there is no way off and let em go at each other…..justice will be served, eh? This is criminal and unjust. I would rather have my tax payer bucks go to those in need on the outside and for those that are more deserving, like children and schools.
    Just a thought!
    Sign me up!

    1. Sign me up! says:

      Oh, one more thing…..once the sex change is done are they going to a women’s facility? Hmmmm……wonder why?

  12. Mars says:

    I don’t believe these procedures should be paid for by us (taxpayers). It’s one thing to provide basic healthcare but this should be considered no different than cosmetic surgery … which is always considered elective and never covered by any insurance company, let alone taxpaying citizens who many were probably victims of the crimes perpetrated by these criminals. In this economy, it seems like being a criminal is a better deal than just the common “Joe” who is struggling to keep a roof over his and his family’s head. What a joke. California, for sure, has become the granola state … fruits, flakes and nuts!

  13. kirrly says:

    i love it

Leave a Reply