25 June 2014

Trans Teen Pimped On Streets, Then By State

George Orwell would've had a field day with this:  Putting someone in prison can be therapeutic.

Someone actually said that.  Not in those words, of course:  After all, the person who gave us that pearl of wisdom is a bureaucrat.  That means that if she ever had the ability to speak forthrightly, it was beaten out of her or she gave it up willingly in order to preserve her lifestyle.

The "someone" in question is Joette Katz, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.  Before becoming Commissioner, she was a judge.  That experience, it seems, honed the skills she's using in her current position, especially when it comes to cases like that of a 16-year-old transgender identified only as "Jane Doe".

Granted, she assaulted staff members at juvenile facilities in which she's been housed.  But staffers in such places are used to such things, and there's no indication that her attacks--if she indeed perpetrated them--were any more intense than others they've experienced.  And, it could be argued that with the proper care, Ms. Doe won't attack anybody again.

However,  Ms. Katz is accused of overstating Ms. Doe's offenses--and of not mentioning that one of the staffers involved in one of the incidents has been terminated.  Worse, Katz never mentioned that Ms. Doe has been a ward of the state through most of her life, during which she has suffered beatings, been raped and denied food.  Moreover, she has been homeless and trafficked for sex. If she isn't suffering from even the mildest form of PTSD, Ms. Doe must be one of the most resilient (or emotionally numb) human beings ever to walk the face of the Earth.

Now tell me:  How would putting her in a male prison for adults--and keeping her in solitary confinement, to boot--help her to recover from the trauma she no doubt carries?  And how would such incarceration make her less likely to assault others (if, indeed, she actually did such a thing), especially given that she has never been charged with a crime.

Think about that:  a sixteen-year-old who was removed from her mother's custody at age four, locked up--no, worse, placed in isolation--without having committed any indictable offense.  Could such a young person end up becoming a criminal simply from the anger issues she'd develop over such an ordeal. D'ya think?

But Joette Katz, the former judge, somehow believes that prison personnel--and fellow inmates of a gender different from hers--will accomplish what psychiatrists, nurses, counselors and other employees of the juvenile facilities in which she's spent much of her life couldn't do for her.

In other words, this estimable Ms. Katz believes that prison will give a young, vulnerable trans person the therapy she needs.

Oh, you're accusing me of sarcasm now, are you?  All right, I'll lay off and let you tell me whether, instead of looking out for Ms. Doe's best interests, the high commissioner is using her as a bargaining chip to placate state legislators who oversee her budget.

Could it be that Ms. Doe has gone from being pimped on the streets to being pimped by a megalomaniacal state official?

Nothing a little time alone among men won't cure, right?

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