Today marks the 50th day that Jane Doe, a 16 year old trans girl of color has been incarcerated in an adult prison in Connecticut even though she has not been convicted of any crime and has no criminal charges against her. She has spent most of that time in solitary confinement. She has not interacted with a peer since January. She cannot shower without two guards watching her. She has asked for help and those with legal custody over her have locked her away in the hopes that she will be forgotten.
Thankfully, since her incarceration Jane’s story has been covered by the New York Times, CNN, Salon, ELIXHIR and more. We have also read Jane Doe’s own words about her situation, which is incredibly dire. She says:
I have been sitting in this prison for a month now and there is no plan to get me out. I am suffering in here. I’m having trouble sleeping and I’m not eating much. I cry in bed every night. I can’t be myself in this place. I feel forgotten and thrown away…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. Don’t forget about me. I can’t take another month of this.
But she is still incarcerated along with so many other people whose names we will never learn.
A lot has been done in the past decade to bring to light the disproportionate rates of incarceration for trans people, in particular trans women of color as well as to highlight the realities of life for trans people who are incarcerated, check out Its War In Here.
More recently people have been pushing social movements, including feminist and abolitionist movements to center gender self determination & trans liberation as a lens thru which we do our work (check out CAPTIVE GENDERS y’all).
Some of us have written and created materials to break down what abolitioning the carceral state means (Barnard Center for Research On Women has a great primer here) how it centers on the fact that no one is disposable and that this movement needs all of us, I’m thinking particularly of the series of videos CeCe McDonald, Dean Spade and I created.
So today I’m witnessing the movement to free Jane Doe through a lens that no one should be incarcerated, that the call for Justice for Jane is a call to abolish the whole system and continue to grow alternatives. A system that incarcerates a 16 year-old trans girl of color is not broke, it’s actually working exactly how it was designed.A system that punishes the resilience that it takes to survive a lifetime of trauma is precisely this system that descends from chattel slavery, convict leasing, and Jim Crow with the goal of maintaining the mechanisms of white supremacy that have built this criminal injustice system.
That’s why we are asking you to join us in demanding Justice for Jane. The Justice For Jane support team has outlined 5 ways to get involved today in order to put pressure on Connecticut and support Jane to get free.
1. Print & fill in this sign (or write your own!), take a picture & upload it to Twitter, Tumblr & other social media with the #JusticeForJane hashtag.
Some ideas: I demand #JusticeForJane because 50 days in prison without charges is too much!
I demand #JusticeForJane because mass incarceration destroys lives & families.
I demand #JusticeForJane because no one should be punished for defending themselves.
I demand #JusticeForJane because DCF has a responsibility to care for children, not abuse and lock them up!
2. Call & Tweet DCF Commissioner Joette Katz and CT Governor Dannel Malloy
Call DCF at 860-550-6300.
Call Governor Malloy at 860-566-4840.
Sample message: I’m calling to demand that Joette Katz and Governor Malloy take action to immediately release Jane Doe, the 16-year-old trans girl who’s been kept at York Correctional for 50 days now without charges. It’s an outrage that DCF and the State of Connecticut are responding to abuse by torturing the victim instead of giving Jane a safe environment.
How did your calls go? Reply to this post, tweet with #JusticeForJane or @Justice4JaneCT on Twitter and let us know.
.@CTDCF, @GovMalloyOffice: 50 days in prison is 50 days too many! #JusticeForJane means releasing her to a safe & caring environment now!
(You can edit the tweet before you send it. Make sure to use the #JusticeForJane hashtag!)
3. Write Jane a letter.
Jane needs letters of love and support for her struggle. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Letter for Jane Doe” and the #JusticeForJane organizers will get your letter to her attorney, who can get it to her.
4. Sign & Share the Petition
Join over 4,000 others that have signed a petition demanding #JusticeForJane on change.org