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Transgender teen relocated in Connecticut prison

Associated Press

Publication: theday.com

Published May 14. 2014 6:19AM   Updated May 14. 2014 6:21AM

Hartford (AP) — A transgender teenage girl imprisoned after the Connecticut Department of Children and Families said she was too violent to be in its custody has been relocated to another part of the state women's prison, although her supporters still say she remains isolated to the detriment of her mental health.

Child Advocate Sarah Eagan said Tuesday the 16-year-old girl, known only as Jane Doe because she is a minor, was moved from a mental health unit to another building at York Correctional Institution in East Lyme. Eagan said she wasn't sure the new location could be considered less isolated.

"The challenge remains that it's a correctional compound, and it's not designed for teenagers with significant mental health needs," Eagan said.

A state judge ordered her into the prison last month based on a request by the state agency.

Meanwhile, the teenager, who has not been convicted of any crime, has asked a federal judge to ban the state from detaining her in an adult prison.

Her lawyer, Aaron Romano, says the teen, who was born a boy but identifies as a girl, has been isolated at York since last month. Romano and civil liberties advocates say the girl has suffered sexual abuse and has a range of mental health needs. They worry that isolation is causing her more psychological harm.

Romano said Tuesday that the girl remains isolated, despite the move.

"The only difference is she's not in the mental health unit hearing the screams and cries of the most decompensated people in the prison," he said.

DCF officials insist the girl has not been in isolation, saying she has been allowed to exercise in a gym, watch TV in a shared recreation area and attend school. An agency spokesman said officials are looking at other placement and treatment options for the girl.

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