Oregon Prisoner Castrates Himself, Sues Prison Officials

By: Gerri L. Elder

In Oregon, a prisoner is serving his 70-month sentence for robbery, and the seven years that he has had added to his sentence for various crimes he has committed while behind bars. However, that appears to be one of the smaller problems he - or she - has at the moment.

Jorey Lee Brewis is 27 years old, and incarcerated. Born a male, he is doing everything in his power to become a female. And I do mean everything. Having been originally convicted of robbery, since being jailed Brewis has been fairly busy. He has been convicted of assault, carrying a weapon and supplying contraband so far during his stay behind bars. Then he mutilated his own genitals and filed a personal injury lawsuit on November 21 in the U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon.

Brewis claims that he suffers from severe gender-identity disorder. He has sued Max Williams, the Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections and 16 other state prison officials because he says that they have ignored his disorder.

Well, if they ignored Brewis before, they probably will have a hard time ignoring him now. Brewis, while inside his cell at the prison, cut out his own testicles and mutilated them. He now insists on being called Rebekah Katherine and has referred to himself as female throughout the text of his lawsuit.

In his lawsuit, Brewis says that he has attempted to commit suicide several times since 2002 and tried to remove his own testicles 13 times because of the severe discomfort of being a woman trapped in a man's body. He is upset by male pattern baldness that he is experiencing and the fact that he is unable to shave all of the hair from his body. He claims that Williams and other prison officials knew of his gender-identity disorder because he had repeatedly attempted to castrate himself and commit suicide, but they refused to get him proper treatment for his disorder.

Brewis asked for treatment for his disorder and $10 million in damages in his lawsuit. He also explained in his suit how he castrated himself with his fingernails after studying a Gray's Anatomy book. He explains in his lawsuit that the process took 5 hours and caused him extreme mental suffering and that he used a roll of toilet paper to absorb the blood he lost during the self-mutilation.

On December 4, Brewis's lawsuit was dismissed at his request so that he could complete the Oregon Department of Corrections formal grievance process, which is required before he can proceed with his personal injury lawsuit against the prison officials.

Prison officials defend the safety record of the Oregon Department of Corrections and note that there is currently no set policy about how to deal with inmates who say they suffer from gender-identity disorder. That much seems very clear, judging by the events leading up to Brewis's lawsuit.

However, it is troubling that the Oregon Department of Corrections may be missing the point failing to get this particular inmate the psychological treatment that he has demonstrated that he may desperately need. That is where the civil rights violation and personal injury may truly lie.

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