In an almost unprecedented move, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families is attempting to transfer a 16-year-old transgender girl (“Jane Doe”), to Manson Correctional Center, a high-security, 21-and-under male-only prison. Due in part to widespread community outrage, the DCF decision is currently being challenged in Conn. state court. The 16-year-old’s advocates point out that the transgender youth does not have any adult criminal charges and is therefore unfit for a prison sentence. A recent affidavit filed by Doe’s attorneys charge that she had been repeatedly sexually and physically assaulted while in DCF custody. After an incident in a facility in Massachusetts, she was detained and sent to York Correctional Facility, a women’s prison, for “evaluation.”
DCF cited a little-known and outdated law to transfer her to York. DCF in Connecticut has a long history of corruption, abuse and neglect of the children and families in its care, and has been under federal court supervision for over 20 years.
It is obvious that instead of finding suitable and safe placement for a 16-year-old transgender girl, Connecticut’s DCF is instead choosing to evade responsibility by locking up one of their most vulnerable youth in a notoriously dangerous and damaging setting. Even more outrageous is DCF’s callous mistreatment of a transgender sexual assault survivor, who would be at risk for more abuse at a men’s prison. The system of institutionalized oppression, working hand-in-hand with the prison-industrial complex, has sentenced Doe to a horrifically unjust fate while refusing to address her needs as a queer youth who has endured years of trauma and sexual abuse.
The youth’s lawyers assert that she is not dangerous, and that the state’s rare decision to transfer her to York Correctional Institution violates two federal statutes that protect children from being detained in adult prisons. They ascribe the rarity of this case to outright transphobia, especially because the many other so-called assaultive youth within the DCF system have not been transferred to prison. It is an obvious failure of the capitalist system - which marginalizes women, queer people, and survivors - when a transgender teen is victimized by abusers and punished for the “crime” of fighting back.
All progressive and revolutionary people should stand firmly with this survivor. Jane Doe’s abusers should be standing trial and the victim not be punished any further. Jane Doe must be released from York Correctional Center and never sent to Manson Correctional Center. DCF must fulfill its legal duty to find her a safe place to live.