The transgender youth known as “Jane Doe” may soon be transferred from the adult women’s prison where she’s been held since April to a private youth facility in Massachusetts, according to the Children and Families Department.
A judge ordered the 16-year-old into Correction Department custody at the request of DCF officials, who maintained the girl is too violent for its facilities. The transfer was based on a rarely-used law and has been challenged in state and federal court.
In a Thursday press release, DCF Commissioner Joette Katz said the teen has been “tentatively accepted” at the Massachusetts facility and is expected to be transferred there in the next two weeks.
Katz defended the time it has taken to find a suitable program, saying more than a dozen prospective facilities either were not secure or could not accommodate “Jane Doe’s” gender identity.
“The program that has accepted Jane Doe serves both boys and girls, the latter of which is Jane Doe’s stated preference. Each youth has his/her own bedroom, which is also Jane Doe’s preference. The facility is secure. The goal of the program is to develop internal controls and teach the youth how to self-regulate their behaviors,” according to the press release.
Aaron Romano, an attorney representing the teen, said he could not speak Thursday to whether the plan to move the girl was true. Romano said he planned to move “full steam ahead” with the legal challenge of her current imprisonment and would continue the lawsuit until she is transferred to more humane living conditions.
“We maintain that the conditions of confinement she’s currently in are illegal,” Romano said. “If something happens in the meantime we’re certainly open to that.”
In the press release, Katz said her department’s ultimate goal is to transfer “Jane Doe” into a therapeutic foster home when her condition improves.
“I hope this can eventually lead to successful re-integration into a family and community as well as a transition to a healthy adulthood,” Katz said.