People in New Jersey Prisons Will Be Placed Based On Gender Identity Under A New Policy

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NPR: Jaclyn Diaz - June 29, 2021


For 18 months, Sonia Doe faced humiliating strip searches in front of male guards. Male prisoners exposed themselves to her. She faced sexual harassment, discrimination and physical threats from corrections officers and inmates alike.


Doe, who is transgender, has lived her life publicly as a woman since 2003. Yet, Doe — a pseudonym used for her lawsuit — was transported to four different men's prisons across New Jersey from March 2018 to August 2019.


It took a lawsuit filed that August for Doe to finally be transported to a woman's prison weeks later.


As part of the settlement for that lawsuit Tuesday, the New Jersey Department of Corrections will now make it customary for prisoners who identify as transgender, intersex or nonbinary to be assigned a prison stay in line with their gender identity — not with the sex they were assigned at birth.


Tuesday's news marks a major policy shift for the New Jersey Department of Corrections.


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