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Rallies Held in Connecticut and New York City For Jane Doe

DCF Commissioner Joette Katz has said the girl is too violent to keep in DCF custody.

DCF Commissioner Joette Katz met on Friday with the juvenile who was the focus of two rallies in Connecticut and New York City.

More than three dozen supporters of a transgender teen being held at Connecticut's women's prison protested in front of the Department of Children and Families headquarters in Hartford.

Supporters chanted, "Victim blaming? We say no! We want justice for Jane Doe." 

Earlier this month, a judge approved a DCF request to transfer Jane Doe, 16, to York Correctional Institution in Niantic. DCF Commissioner Joette Katz has said the girl is too violent to keep in DCF custody. 

The teen has been at York for more than two weeks. Supporters have said she should be in a juvenile facility, not a prison, because she has not been charged or convicted of an adult crime.

Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR
Representatives of the Yale Undergraduate Prison Project were at a rally Friday in Hartford in support of an imprisoned transgender teen.
Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR
Chris Garaffa and Ivy, Party for Socialism and Liberation, protest in front of DCF headquarters
Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

Barbara Fair, with the group, My Brother's Keeper in New Haven, was one of the groups represented at the rally. She said Jane Doe's story is proof of a wider problem in DCF. "[There are [thousands of Jane Does and John Does caught up in the systems that we have here in Connecticut and the nation," she said. "It's about destroying families and children, when DCF is supposed to be about giving families and children resources."

The rally included members of Connecticut Trans-Advocacy Coalition, Yale Undergraduate Prison Project, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and the ACLU. Another rally was held at the same time in New York City to show support for Jane Doe.

Attorneys for the teen and the state met Friday afternoon. No agreement has yet been reached to move her out of York. Aaron Romano, assigned counsel for Jane Doe, said Commissioner Katz went to York on Friday morning to meet with their client without her attorneys in the room.

Romano said Katz "told Jane she was staying in jail, and did not give any definable goals or steps Jane could meet to end her incarceration." Romano questioned the motives behind Katz's visit, and said he's not sure how meaningful negotiations can be. 

DCF issued a statement about the meeting, saying, "[The] Commissioner talked to [the teen] about continuing efforts with her lawyers and the Department of Correction to move her to a more therapeutic treatment setting that will benefit her over the long term."

Lucy leads Connecticut Public's strategies to deeply connect and build collaborations with community-focused organizations across the state.

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