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Opinion: An open letter to ‘Jane Doe,’ the transgender girl in an adult prison

Dear “Jane,”

I feel like we all failed you, and I’m sorry.

As I write this, you’re sitting in solitary in York, the adult women’s prison in Niantic. Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz has said there was no other choice. Apparently you got into a fight with staff at your last placement; your lawyers and Katz disagree about how serious that was. But that is why you’re in an adult prison, according to Katz.

“This young lady is going to have to learn coping skills that don’t involve hurting other people,” Katz said, before she will consider moving you again.

You wrote eloquently about your experiences of rape, abuse, and trauma in your affidavit to the court. Some of this was from family, some from clients during your time as a sex worker, but some was from DCF staff and other residents in both Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Please permit me to quote you (and this is a trigger warning for others reading):

“At about age 12 I was placed by DCF at a residential facility in Eagleton School in Massachusetts, where a worker [name redacted] used to show the other children pornographic magazines, and on two occasions I was in his office and he had me perform oral sex on him.”

Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.

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