The Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Joette Katz said today that the transgender teen girl, Jane Doe, who has been held in an adult prison for nearly 2 months without criminal charges against her, will be admitted to a treatment center for youth in Massachusetts. Neither the name or location of the center was disclosed by officials, but Katz expects the transfer will happen within the next two weeks. The day before this announcement, a federal judge in Hartford set a June 16 date for a hearing on whether state officials should be barred from continuing to imprison the girl. ACLU legal director Sandra Staub could not comment on the planned move due to a lack of details, but said that the DCF "should not leaver her [in prison] for even one more day."
The 16-year-old trans girl of color has been held for most of the last 2 months in solitary confinement, first in an adult men's prison, and then in an adult women's prison. A rarely used Connecticut statute allowed the DCF to request that Jane Doe be moved to a prison facility by claiming it was in her "best interest," and a judge granted the request. The girl's lawyers, including Aaron Romano, have been asking a federal judge to move her out of the adult prison.
Romano previously dismissed and criticized an announcement from the DCF in May saying that Jane would be moved to a 'cottage' on the prison grounds. “She is not in a ‘cottage,’” Romano said. “That word creates the illusion of Mother Goose. She’s in prison! It’s a disgrace to see DCF again attempting to distance themselves from what they’ve done: putting a child in jail."
Supporters of Jane Doe's release from prison started using the hashtag #JusticeForJane, and the #JusticeForJane blog has urged people to take action through tweeting at the DCF in Connecticut and taking photos with a sign displaying the hashtag. Trans activist and writer Janet Mock wrote a moving open letter to Jane Doe, and trans activist and writer Reina Gossett wrote a powerful essay framing Jane Doe's imprisonment as part of "a system that punishes the resilience that it takes to survive a lifetime of trauma." Attorney Chase Strangio detailed his experience meeting Jane Doe, and urged readers not to forget her humanity.