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Hearing on Detention of Jane Doe Canceled

by Christine Stuart | Jun 16, 2014 10:30am
(0) | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Courts, Equality, Legal

A federal judge canceled a hearing Monday on a civil rights complaint against the state regarding its detention of a transgender teen.

U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny was expected to hear arguments Monday in the case, but the hearing on the preliminary injunction was canceled and a status conference has been scheduled for Wednesday.

Jane Doe’s attorney, Aaron Romano, said Monday that there’s progress being made and they are looking forward to transferring her out of prison in the next few days.

A state judge ordered the teen into the custody of the Correction Department in April after the Department of Children and Families said she was too violent to be housed in their care.

Romano said that while the pending transfer to a facility in Massachusetts may eliminate the need for the preliminary injunction, it does not end the case. He said his challenge of her treatment remains.

After spending the first few weeks at York Correctional Institute in the mental health unit where she was confined 21-22 hours per day, Jane Doe was moved on May 13 to a “a self-contained unit consisting of three rooms and a bathroom,” according to Romano’s amended complaint.

But things haven’t gotten better.

“Jane feels no sense of privacy in this housing unit,” the amended lawsuit states. “Jane sleeps in one of the rooms and is observed by correctional officers through a window cut in the door of the room. In addition, a window is cut in the bathroom door so that correctional officers can observe Jane while she is using the toilet, sink, and shower.”

She receives “limited educational services from prison teachers” and “her treatment plan calls for visits once a week from the prison psychologist,” the lawsuit says.

According to Romano, Jane spends approximately 23 hours a day in this housing unit or immediately outside it; she leaves for one hour a day for recreation in the prison gym, and for occasional professional visits.

On June 5, Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz, said the teen had been “tentatively accepted” at a Massachusetts facility and is expected to be transferred there in two weeks.

Earlier this month, 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.

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