Target: Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy
Goal: Thank state government for standing up for the rights of a wrongly imprisoned transgender teenager
The Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) recently announced that “Jane Doe”, the 16-year-old transgender girl who has been confined in an adult women’s prison since early April, will be released into the care of a Massachusetts psychiatric clinic for juveniles. While her name is still being withheld due to her status as a minor, this has not stopped her from actively advocating for herself, even writing an open letter to the governor about her situation. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy responded in an official statement, saying that Jane “must be moved to another setting as quickly as possible.” Thanks to the efforts of Governor Malloy, Jane’s lawyer, her many vocal supporters, and Jane herself, the request is finally being granted.
Jane was sent to prison after an altercation with an aid at another facility. Although she has never been accused of or charged with a crime, the DCF sent her to prison after getting a special dispensation from a judge, allegedly because of her history of violent behavior. Jane’s history with the DCF includes records of sexual and physical violence against the teen dating back to when she first became a ward of the state and entered the foster care system at the age of five.
Children who have been abused or witnessed abuse frequently act out in violent and unpredictable ways. Their experiences have taught them that no one can be trusted and that they must be able to defend themselves at all times against aggressors who are likely older and larger than them. Transgender children in particular have always been at a special risk for abuse when they fail to meet the gender expectations set out for them. Treating trauma cases such as Jane’s with criminal incarceration only increases the risk of criminal activity and violent behavior in the future. Thank Governor Malloy for believing in the possibility of a healthy, well-adjusted future for Jane.
Dear Governor Malloy,
Research has shown that juveniles convicted as adults and relegated to the adult justice system frequently display increased recidivism and pose a greater risk to public safety. Since Jane Doe has not even been convicted of a crime, her incarceration is even more questionable and reprehensible.
An adult prison is not a place of healing for a child who has experienced so much trauma. While Jane’s case is undoubtedly complicated, criminal incarceration is an excessively blunt tool for such a delicate situation. Thank you for working with advocates to find an appropriate alternative for Jane’s treatment and rehabilitation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Nemo via Pixabay
Original petition: Demand Transgender Teen be Released from Prison