Sonia Doe v. NJ Department of Corrections

This lawsuit challenges the New Jersey Department of Corrections’ (DOC) mistreatment of a woman under the pseudonym of Sonia Doe. Between the time Ms. Doe entered prison in March 2018 and filing her lawsuit in August 2019, the DOC confined her in four different men’s prisons, despite its knowledge that she is a woman. DOC staff tried to force Ms. Doe to live as a man, consistently misgendered her, and subjected her to daily discrimination, harassment, and even outright violence because she is transgender.

In partnership with attorney Robyn Gigl, the ACLU-NJ filed a civil rights complaint on behalf of Ms. Doe, alleging ten counts for violations of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and New Jersey Constitution and seeking damages and injunctive relief. Two weeks after the filing, the DOC announced it would transfer Ms. Doe to the women’s prison, a move that her lawyers had asked the Court to order.

Status

The case has been resolved through a settlement agreement, by which the New Jersey Department of Corrections is adopting a new policy on transgender, intersex and non-binary prisoners and paying $125,000 in damages to Sonia Doe, in addition to attorneys’ fees. (June 29, 2021)

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