Connecticut prison officials are working to establish a new policy for housing transgender inmates following a court order handing the Correction Department custody of a male minor who identifies as a woman. The 16-year-old is extremely violent, and you can read about his crimes here. The juvenile was committed to DCF in November after violently assaulting a woman at Bridgeport Detention Center.
In the juvenile system, the teen has been recognized as a “transgender female” and has been housed in female living sections at child detention centers and DCF facilities, or in isolation at male facilities. Given the male’s violent history, as well as his maleness, this is an appalling civil rights violation against actual females.
A Connecticut court ordered the youth transferred to the DOC, initially for an assessment at the state’s only women’s prison. Thereafter, the correction commissioner, James E. Dzurenda, will decide where he will be placed for a longer period.
Historically, DOC policy has been to place transgender people with the inmate population they correspond with biologically. Michael P. Lawlor, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s advisor for criminal justice policy, said the DOC was re-examining its policy and considering best practices from around the country.
“I think the time has come in Connecticut and every state for people to adopt a clear policy on this,” Lawlor said. “Moving forward, you want to have a process by which you treat prisoners consistent with state laws and we have gender non-discrimination policies on the books here in Connecticut.”
In 2011, the legislature passed a bill making it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their gender identity and expression. Gov. Malloy signed it into law.
Lawlor said the issue gets complicated in the prison system. Correction administrators need to have a way to verify an inmate as being legitimately transgender, he said. Otherwise, inmates could claim to be transgender in order to be transferred.
In the meantime, the teen has been ordered to the women’s prison for 72 hours. In a written statement, DOC Commissioner Dzurenda said the department was working to accommodate the youth.
“We will do everything in our power to provide a safe, secure and humane environment for this individual, as we would for any other person under our supervision,” he said.
Dzurenda offered no such comfort to the girls and women housed with this violent male.