Transgender Woman Held in NJ Men’s Prisons Claims Abuse

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Sonia Doe had long known she was a woman when she began serving a prison sentence in March 2018. The state of New Jersey knew it, too. For one thing, she says, her driver’s license listed her as female, reports.

Yet Doe, who is transgender and has received hormone therapy for more than a decade, claims she spent the past year and a half shuffled from one men’s correctional facility to another, enduring abuse and harassment from inmates and prison staff. State officials on Wednesday, facing a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, agreed to relocate Doe next month to the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, the one New Jersey prison that houses female inmates. In graphic detail in her lawsuit, the unnamed prisoner described sexual harassment by male inmates, indifference and outright mockery from prison staff when she asked to be moved and an alleged beat-down by corrections officers after she complained about her treatment. New Jersey’s corrections system has a formal process for dealing with inmates in Doe’s position, according to internal documents reviewed by NJ Advance Media. A special committee is supposed to regularly examine requests from “transgender or intersex” prisoners and place them somewhere safe.

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