REMINDER: There is a Mothers Against Solitary Confinement Rally today at the AZ Capitol (1700 W. Washington St, PHX) at 5pm - please come early if you can but come late if you have to - just come so you can organize with other family members affected by the prison industrial complex.
I can’t be myself in this place.
I feel forgotten and thrown away. As you probably know, these feeling are not new for me. This is the way my life has been going since I was a little kid. My lawyer says that Commissioner Katz is the only one who can fix this but when I wrote her a letter it didn’t help. She has given up on me. If you’re her boss you can do something, right? Everyone says I need to be somewhere where I can get help and Katz keeps telling everyone that she is working to get me out of here but I don’t believe her. I think this is just another one of her stories that isn’t true. I want to call her a liar but people tell me that I shouldn’t say that about someone important like her. All I know is that she has said a lot of things about me that aren’t true. She was on TV telling people I blinded someone and broke their jaw. That was a lie. She said that she never asked that I go to Manson. That was a lie. She told everyone that I should be going to that new girls program at Riverview. That was a lie. Now she is telling people she is trying to get me out of here but nothing is happening. I hear people talking and they are saying that I am going to be here till I’m 18. I am done with DCF. They just want to make up stuff about me so that everyone thinks I am some kind of wild animal. Is it Ok for them to do this? To just lie about me and throw me in prison and forget about me?
If I was in charge I wouldn’t let this happen. If you’re the Governor then you are in charge of everyone who works for the state. DCF is supposed to be helping me, right? If this is helping me then I’m all set with being helped. I would be a lot better off being on my own. It seems like you’re my last chance to get out of here.
"I can't take another month of this."
Mother Jones Magazine
Until last week, the girl, whom I'll call Jane Doe because she is a juvenile, was in solitary confinement in the mental health unit where, according to a letter she wrote, she cried in bed every night. She heard adult inmates crying, screaming, and banging on the walls. A guard observed her day and night, even when she showered or used the toilet. When other inmates caught sight of her, they yelled and made fun of her.
"I feel forgotten and thrown away," she wrote to the governor of Connecticut from her solitary cell. "As you probably know, these feeling are not new for me. This is the way my life has been going since I was a little kid."
The state became involved in Jane Doe's life when she was five, according to her affidavit, because her father was incarcerated and her mom was using crack and heroin. She was born a boy; after she was placed in the care of her extended family, she said, one relative caught her playing with dolls and bashed her head into the wall. She said another relative raped her at age eight, as did others as she grew older. Doe would only allow herself to look like a girl in secret. Around age 11, a relative caught her in the bathroom wearing her dress and lipstick and slapped her, shouting, "You are a boy! What the fuck is wrong with you?"
Here is how Jane Doe ended up in prison. On January 28, while living at a juvenile facility in Massachusetts—where she was serving a sentence for assault—she allegedly attacked a staff member, biting her, pulling her hair and kicking her in the head. This kind of behavior wasn't new for Doe. The director of the Connecticut Juvenile Training School, a correctional facility for boys, later testified in court that, since Doe was nine, police have been called 11 times while she was in state facilities. He said she sometimes smeared feces on herself. Another supervisor claimed Doe regularly "exhibited assaultive behaviors," targeting female staff and other juveniles.
According to Jane Doe's lawyer, Aaron Romano, the most recent incident was sparked when a male staffer at the Massachusetts facility put Doe in a bear hug restraint from behind. "This is a girl who has been sexually abused," Romano says. "She is inclined to interpret actions with that view." DCF declined to comment on the incident, but the female staff member Doe allegedly attacked did not press charges. The male staffer has since been dismissed.
In order to move Doe to an adult prison, DCF cited an obscure statute that allows doing so when it is in the "best interest" of the child. Initially, the state sought to place Doe in a men's prison, but her lawyers objected and she was sent to a women's facility. There, she was placed in solitary confinement because under federal law, juveniles cannot be detained "in any institution in which they have contact with adult inmates."