She Will be Free! Teenage Trans Girl Will be Released from Adult Prison
Jane Doe, the 16-year-old trans girl who was put in an adult prison in Connecticut despite never having been charged with a crime, will be released into the care of a Massachusetts clinic, it has been announced.
Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz confirmed to the press that Doe will be transferred to a center for young people with psychological problems within the next two weeks, bringing to an end her controversial, and many human rights groups say illegal, incarceration in an adult Connecticut prison. The new facility, whose name and exact location has not been disclosed, allows for private rooms for all of its residents and Doe’s gender identity will be respected, the DCF has said.
“This transition will allow her to get the treatment she needs and begin the process of healing,” Katz is quoted as saying. “I hope this can eventually lead to successful re-integration into a family and community as well as a transition to a healthy adulthood.”
Connecticut’s DCF and Katz in particular received intense criticism in April for moving Doe from a juvenile facility to an adult one. Our original coverage explains the case in detail, but briefly: the DCF contended that because Doe had a history of violent behavior, DCF staff could not provide her adequate and safe care and therefore she had to be moved to an adult facility.
Normally, the DCF cannot do this without a minor being charged with felony battery, but there is a provision under Connecticut law that allows juveniles to be transferred to adult facilities if they are considered a danger to themselves or others. The DCF contended that this was the case with Doe.
A judge granted the transfer request on April 8, and Doe was moved to an all-female York facility.
The ACLU took up Doe’s case, arguing that the DCF’s first attempts at transferring Doe to an all-male facility betrayed the fact that the DCF was acting in a discriminatory way. The ACLU also pointed out that the DCF had just lobbied for a juvenile facility for young women with behavioral issues, yet did not provide adequate reasons as to why Doe could not be housed there.
As we previously reported, Doe herself spoke out in an op-ed for the Courant in which she alleged that Katz had said things about her that were “untrue,” and that the department had focused on isolated incidents of violence out of context of her otherwise good behavior.
About her transfer to the York facility, Doe said:
“Now, I am sitting in a room at the end of a hallway in the psych ward at York Correctional Institution. I’m in my room 22 hours a day with a guard staring at me — even when I shower and go to the bathroom. It’s humiliating. Women constantly scream and cry and it was hard to sleep. They moved me down a different hallway where it’s not as crazy. I tell myself that this is just a nightmare, but it doesn’t end. I know that I need to work on my issues and I want to, but this is not the place. I am afraid of the women here. I don’t want to be around them. They yell comments to me and make fun of me when they see me.”
As to Doe being released to the Massachusetts facility, the ACLU is refraining from issuing a specific comment because, true to form, the DCF has so far refused to release further details. However, the organization has issued a general comment:
“We can’t think of many places that would be worse for this child than where she is right now, an adult prison,” ACLU legal director Sandra Staub is quoted as saying. “DCF should never have asked to put her there and should not leave her there for even one more day.”
Whether any further legal action will be taken against the DCF is still unclear.
Care2 Success: Thank you to the 8,000+ Care2 members who signed our petition to Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy urging him to intervene in this case and fight for Jane Doe’s freedom. Malloy did just that, issuing a statement saying that Doe should be released to a treatment facility as soon as possible.
Edit: If you haven’t already signed, please do so as it is vital that pressure is kept on the DCF to follow through.
Photo credit: Thinkstock.