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State struggles to house transgender youth

HARTFORD, Conn. – State prison officials were grappling Wednesday to establish a new policy for housing transgender inmates following a court order handing the Correction Department custody of a transgender minor.

The youth is a 16-year-old who is biologically male but has long identified as a female, according to a court document transferring the teen from the custody of the Children and Families Department to the DOC. The juvenile was committed to DCF in November after assaulting someone at Bridgeport Detention Center.

In the juvenile system, the teen has been recognized as a transgender female and has been housed in female living sections at child detention centers and DCF facilities, or in isolation at male facilities.

But the court ordered the youth transferred to the DOC, initially for an assessment at the state’s only women’s prison. Then the correction commissioner will decide where she will be placed for a longer period.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.

 

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2 responses to “State struggles to house transgender youth”

  1. N. Bates

    Caching. That’s the sound of the states cash register ringing, paying this troubled youths attorneys off in a significant settlement down the road. Sadly, this case is yet another example of how very screwed up and how antiquely, 19th century our mental health system is. What is it going to take to get us out of denial and begin a serious national discussion about mental health and the lack of treatment and infrastructure? It’s no secret, its in our faces every day, wall to wall. Minds bending and snapping from personal and societal pressures and lack of available treatment or even diagnosis in far too many instances. Yet we keep locking them up, pretending to treat them but really just anesthetizing them in cages while incarcerated and than releasing these people with no support systems or medications often abused and sicker than when they entered the system. National Center for Biotechnology Information; “Prevalence of psychopathy is lower in European than North American prisons.” “There is a growing population of mentally ill prisoners being insufficiently detected and treated.”

    Prisons and jails have become America’s “new asylums”: The number of individuals with serious mental illness in prisons and jails now exceeds the number in state psychiatric hospitals tenfold. Most of the mentally ill individuals in prisons and jails would have been treated in state psychiatric hospitals in the years before the deinstitutionalization movement led to closing the hospitals, a trend that continues even today.
    The Treatment Advocatcy Center made a short blip in media in its recently released report.
    “The treatment of mentally ill individuals in prisons and jails is critical, especially since such individuals are vulnerable and often abused while incarcerated. Untreated, their psychiatric illness often gets worse, and they leave prison or jail sicker than when they entered. Individuals in prison and jails have a right to receive medical care, and this right pertains to serious mental illness just as it pertains to tuberculosis, diabetes, or hypertension. This right to treatment has been affirmed by the US Supreme Court.” “From 1770 to 1820 in the United States, mentally ill persons were routinely confined in prisons and jails. Because this practice was regarded as inhumane and problematic, such persons were routinely confined in hospitals until 1970. Since 1970, we have returned to the earlier practice of routinely confining such persons in prisons and jails.
    In 2012, there were estimated to be 356,268 inmates with severe mental illness in prisons and jails. There were also approximately 35,000 patients with severe mental illness in state psychiatric hospitals. Thus, the number of mentally ill persons in prisons and jails was 10 times the number remaining in state hospitals.
    In 44 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, a prison or jail in that state holds more individuals with serious mental illness than the largest remaining state psychiatric hospital. For example, in Ohio, 10 state prisons and two county jails each hold more mentally ill inmates than does the largest remaining state hospital.”

    Department of Justice’s own Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities (2004) and Survey of Inmates in Local Jails (2002) stated that “Inmates in local jails had the highest prevalence of mental problems, with nearly two thirds of jail inmates (64.2 percent).”

    Human Rights Watch 2006 report stated; ” One in five state prisoners with mental health problems has been injured in a fight in prison, compared to one in 10 of those without.

    Prison staff often punish mentally ill offenders for symptoms of their illness, such as being noisy, refusing orders, self mutilating or even attempting suicide. Mentally ill prisoners are thus more likely than others to end up housed in especially harsh conditions, including isolation, that can push them over the edge into acute psychosis.

    The Treatment Advocacy Centers reports states;
    “Asking prisons to treat people with serious mental illness is pushing round pegs into square holes,” “People who suffer from mental illness need mental health interventions, not punishment for behavior that may be motivated by delusions and hallucinations.”

    According to Human Rights Watch, the staggering rate or incarceration of the mentally ill is a consequence of under-funded, disorganized and fragmented community mental health services. Many people with mental illness, particularly those who are poor, homeless, or struggling with substance abuse – cannot get mental health treatment. If they commit a crime, even low-level nonviolent offenses, punitive sentencing laws mandate imprisonment.

    Its not like we dont know but we certainly don’t understand how damaging it is, not just to individuals but also to society as a whole, on so many levels including violence and extended 24/7 housing costs, by allowing even encouraging such inhumane conditions to continue even increase.

    It’s a shame on our conscious we diligently attempt to ignore but haunts us daily with no escape. And a stain on nations spirit and the values so many have fought and sacrificed for. What is wrong with us? Are we all sick and in denial?

    Sources:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15447785

    http://www.hrw.org/news/2006/09/05/us-number-mentally-ill-prisons-quadrupled

    http://tacreports.org/treatment-behind-bars/executive-summary

  2. Johnny

    I’ve read about this young male on other places and what he has done and he should not be among women, he can’t control himself. I’m all in of giving him treatment for his violent rage but don’t let him be around girls and women ’til he can prove that he is no danger to them any longer.

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