News (USA)

Transgender teen back in custody following escape

Updated: 6:30 p.m. EDT

HARTFORD, Conn. — A troubled transgender girl whose confinement case has attracted national attention escaped from a Connecticut treatment program Tuesday and was found by police several hours later, state officials said.

The teenager has been moved several times since a judge in April ordered her to be imprisoned without criminal charges at the request of the Department of Children and Families, who said she was too violent to remain in their custody. She was 16 at the time.

The teenager, most recently held at a facility for delinquent boys, escaped while attending her first day at a therapeutic program, according to an agency statement.

“We are relieved that she is not injured, and we want to thank the Hartford Police Department for their diligent and effective work,” department spokesman Gary Kleeblatt said.

The teenager has suffered sexual abuse and has a range of mental health needs, according to her attorney. The child advocate’s office says her life has been marked by years of institutional or hospital care. The agency has identified her only generically as Jane Doe.

Since April, she has been relocated to several different detention facilities amid allegations she assaulted others and an outcry from supporters over the conditions of her confinement.

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In May, she was moved from a mental health unit to another building at York Correctional Institution in East Lyme, where advocates complained that she was subject to solitary confinement damaging to her mental state. The Department of Children and Families denied she was in solitary confinement.

In June, she was moved to the Albert J. Solnit Children’s Psychiatric Center, a Children and Families-run facility in Middletown.

In July, she was moved to Connecticut’s juvenile home for boys after she was accused of assaulting another youth and a staff member. She was in a single room separated from the other residents at the Children’s Psychiatric Center, the state’s only secure facility for delinquent boys.

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