An editorial in Connecticut's New Haven Register calls for the release of transgender teen girl, Jane Doe, from the prison where she is being held without criminal charges against her by order of the state's Department of Children and Families. According to reports, the 16-year-old is housed in an isolated "cottage" on the grounds of the prison where she has been for more than a month. A spokesperson for Gov. Malloy recently said that he has asked for Jane Doe to be "moved to another setting as quickly as possible," but she remains in prison.
DCF has inflicted its own abuse by sending Jane to male facilities in the past even though she identifies as female, no doubt exacerbating the discrimination, bullying, physical and mental abuse that tend to become a way of life for transgender youth.
Among the questions raised by our treatment of Jane Doe:
• Are we protecting or processing the children in state care?
• When is it ever OK to place a child in an adult prison?
• Why would we keep a law on the books allowing anyone — not to mention a child — to be held in prison for a month without being charged with a crime?
• Why are we using the cruel and unusual punishment of solitary confinement — proven to have severe psychological effects — on a child, especially one who hasn’t been charged with anything or been afforded due process for a punishment to be meted out?
How, with a budget of $810 million and a mission of protecting and treating the “worst case” children, can DCF abdicate its responsibility to this girl and throw her in a prison cell?