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San Diego County pays trans woman $275K for placement in men’s jail and assault inside

Kristina Frost sued the County and Sheriff’s Department for the misplacement into a cell with three men, one of which assaulted her.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County paid $275,000 to a trans-woman beaten and injured after deputies placed her into a jail cell with three men.

According to court documents obtained by CBS 8, Kristina Frost dismissed her lawsuit against the county and the Sheriff’s on March 28 after agreeing to settle for $275,000.

In November 2020, Frost was booked into San Diego Central Jail on a misdemeanor book and release charge. Frost told in-take deputies that she was a trans-woman. Frost was dressed in woman’s clothes, wearing high-cut shorts and a bra, a further indication to guards of her gender. In addition, Frost’s driver's license and DMV records listed her gender as ‘female.’

After being placed in a solitary cell, Frost’s lawsuit says deputies abruptly moved her into a different cell with three men.

“It was clear Ms. Frost did not want to go into the cell, and she was confused as to why she was being moved into the cell.” reads Frost’s 2021 lawsuit. “No reasonable deputy would have put Ms. Frost in a minimally monitored cell with three men. She was forced into the cell anyway.”

Frost’s complaint claims that she did her best to avoid the three other inmates, “burying her head in her shirt.” Not long after falling asleep, Frost says one of the male cellmates attacked her, punching her in the face and breaking her jaw in two places.

Added the lawsuit, “Deputies observed this assault, yet none immediately intervened. Ms. Frost saw one or more deputies pausing outside the cell before entering to intervene. Deputies eventually removed the assailant from the cell and put him alone in another holding cell.”

Frost’s settlement adds to tens of millions of dollars that San Diego taxpayers have paid for jail-related judgments and settlements.

According to public records obtained by CBS 8, county taxpayers have paid nearly $30 million dollars since 2015, with Frost’s settlement the latest payout to add to that figure. 

That figure will undoubtedly rise as the county faces several other jail-related lawsuits from assaulted inmates and families of inmates who died in county-run jails.

Regarding Frost’s settlement, the Sheriff’s Department tells CBS 8 that it has updated its policies for transgender individuals booked into county jails.

“The Sheriff's Department continues to strive to maintain an inclusive and safe environment for all incarcerated persons,” reads the San Diego Sheriff’s statement to CBS 8. “The Sheriff's Department has had a policy in place since 2018 referencing the identification and placement of transgender individuals in Sheriff's custody. The policy was revised in 2022 to inquire of individuals identified as transgender, intersex, and non-binary during the intake process regarding their individual housing preference.”

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