By Parker Marie Molloy
Originally published on Advocate.com April 10 2014 5:24 PM ET
Earlier this week, a transgender teenager was placed into an adult prison despite not actually being charged with a crime.
Until now, the 16-year-old girl had been in the custody of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. After an alleged violent attack against a DCF staff member, which reportedly left the staff member temporarily blinded and with a broken jaw, the agency determined that they could no longer provide adequate and safe care for the child in any of the existing DCF facilities.
The child is currently being held at York Correctional Institute for Women in Niantic, Conn., where she is being evaluated.
Whether or not she will remain housed with women or transferred to an all-male holding facility remains uncertain. Historically, the Connecticut Department of Corrections has housed transgender inmates on the basis of their genital configuration. If the Department continues to follow this standard, transfer to an all-male facility seems probable.
According to the Hartford Courant's reporting on the situation, the child was originally placed in DCF custody after enduring serious physical abuse at the hands of her previous legal guardians, leaving her traumatized.
Ordinarily, DCF won't transfer children into an adult prison population unless they have been charged with felony battery, which has not happened in the this case.
The youth's public defender has hopes that the teen will be returned to DCF custody. If that isn't an immediate possibility, the youth's lawyer is pushing to keep the child temporarily housed with the female prisoners at York.
Details on the youth's immediate fate could be unveiled as soon as Friday.