September 2021 – As part of a lawsuit filed by a trans-identified male inmate, New Jersey will now house prisoners based on their self-declared gender instead of their biological sex. The male inmate, “Sonia Doe,” was incarcerated for more than 18 months. During this time Doe claims the prison staff denied him female commissary items, as well as referred to him by incorrect pronouns.
After the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU) filed a complaint on behalf of Doe, he was transferred to Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women. According to Tess Borden, an attorney for ACLU, the settlement by the state “puts in place systemic, far-reaching policy changes to recognize and respect the gender identity of people in prison. …”
In addition to accommodating Doe’s demands, the New Jersey Department of Corrections paid his attorney’s fees to the tune of $45,000 plus $125,000 in damages.