The D.C. Department of Corrections changed its gender housing policy in light of a class-action lawsuit filed earlier this year, but the American Civil Liberties Union of D.C. argued in court Tuesday that the new protocol — which involves shackling transgender inmates when they leave the intake unit and are moved around within the jail — is just as egregious as the old one.

The ACLU-DC sought a preliminary injunction to stop the D.C. Department of Corrections (DOC) from continuing the new policy, saying that shackling transgender prisoners simply because of their gender identity violated their equal protection rights and rights under the D.C. Human Rights Act.

“There are strong dignitary interests that these individuals possess for not being shackled for no reason except their transgender status,” ACLU-DC Legal Director Scott Michelman said in court.

Before June, transgender inmates in the D.C. jail were housed by default based on their anatomy until a Transgender Housing Committee convened to determine their more permanent placement. That meant Sunday Hinton, a transgender woman arrested in April and accused in an unarmed burglary with intent to steal $20, was placed in the men’s unit against her wishes.

Her detention caught the attention of the ACLU-DC, which filed a class-action lawsuit in May accusing the DOC of discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex. The lawsuit also asserted that the Transgender Housing Committee had failed to convene for more than a year.

Soon after the May court filing, Hinton was transferred to the women’s unit and released from jail. In June, the Department of Corrections changed its gender housing policy to house inmates based on their preferences and have the Transgender Housing Committee monitor safety or security concerns.

But that newly enacted policy requires transgender individuals to wait for an assessment in “intake protective custody,” where inmates are detained in single cells separate from the general population and shackled while moving around within the jail, which is required to meet with the Transgender Housing Committee.

Although Hinton is no longer in custody, she called the new policy into question.

“I absolutely do not want to be housed in protective custody because it is extremely isolating,” Hinton said in a statement in court filings. “Being in protective custody is depressing. Being in protective custody would also impact my mental health by making it even more difficult for me to deal with my anxiety.”

Pamela Disney, counsel for the government, argued that transgender inmates are rarely housed in intake protective custody for more than a few days, since the policy mandates that inmates receive an initial safety assessment within 24 hours of detention and a meeting with the Transgender Housing Committee within another 72 hours — excluding weekends, holidays and emergencies. She also argued that shackling transgender inmates can offer them protection against inmates in the general population.

“It is the DOC’s obligation that it takes very seriously to protect the inmates in its custody that are vulnerable to safety, security threats,” she said.

The District also argued in court filings that Hinton no longer has a case because she was moved to a women’s facility and because the policy in question no longer exists.

The Tuesday hearing also included debate over whether the number of people harmed by the DOC’s policies was enough to represent a class and whether Hinton, who had been released from jail but still faces criminal charges, was in enough jeopardy to warrant a preliminary injunction.

U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates adjourned without a ruling.