Decompensation is the medical term for the inability to maintain psychological defenses in response to stress. Decompensation results in personality disturbance or psychological imbalance.
In terms of post-traumatic stress disorder, decompensation to this layman seems the phenomenon when the person who has endured this stress or trauma is reminded of the experience, and is thrust back into that moment of trauma and its debilitating aftermath.
It happens to combat veterans when they hear loud noises, rape survivors when they smell certain things. I’ve had my own battles with decompensation, thanks to a state inflicted injury. You never know when decompensation will strike.
And lately, I’ve been wondering how long decompensation will affect Jane Doe, the 17-year-old trasngender youth currently jailed by Gov. Dan Malloy’s administration, apparently for existing.
Gov. Malloy is the Dickensian antihero whose lackeys can’t seem to get their act together as they ignore internationally recognized human rights for children and federal and state legislative and constitutional mandates as they keep Jane Doe in solitary confinement for 22 or 23 hours a day.
There is no legitimate explanation for this treatment, and every day behind bars, Jane Doe suffers irreparable harm.
A bevy of bulldog lawyers from the state juvenile public defender’s office representing Jane Doe filed for injunctive relief in federal court to free her from the adult prison shackles locked onto her by Gov. Malloy’s minions.
Aaron Romano is one of those bulldogs. He was not happy when the first press release about Jane Doe came from the Department of Corrections announcing her transfer into DOC care.
Normally, juvenile matters are kept secret. Kids merit special protection. Not Jane Doe. She has been a ward of the state for many years. Her affidavit in support of injunctive relief lists the innumerable traumas that she no doubt decompensates from probably on a daily basis.
From this layman’s view, Jane Doe has to be suffering from PTSD based on what she has endured, the least of which is the cruel and unusual punishment of segregation from the state of Connecticut.
Andy Thibault at Cool Justice summarized Jane Doe’s formative years: “a cousin forcing her to have sex and threatening to kill her; an uncle beating her and bashing her head into a wall; punishment for seeking help including more beatings and withholding of food and water for two days; incontinence as a result of rape; slapped for wearing a dress and lipstick; coerced sex with a health care worker at a residential facility; coerced sex by a staff member at another placement; rape by another youth at a state-sponsored facility; forced 30 times to have oral sex with mother’s boyfriend; rape by the father of younger sister; rape by a friend’s brother; beaten while working as an escort; imprisoned by two men and forced into human trafficking; beaten after asking a customer for help; a daring escape from pimps.”
I can’t even imagine what Jane Doe’s decompensations must be like. I had a minor decompensation this past Friday morning reading Colin McEnroe’s column about Doug Glanville, the baseball star turned writer and sports commentator who lives in Hartford’s West End.
Glanville, while shoveling snow one day in February or March, got profiled in his own driveway by West Hartford Police. This probably won’t give him PTSD.
In discussing Glanville, McEnroe provided a brief review of local police misconduct, and cited my January 2007 arrest as egregious. McEnroe then quoted former Hartford police chief Daryl Roberts sloughing off my arrest “It’s not like we electrocuted him.”
No, but bastards like Roberts and his lying, corrupt ways damaged me. My anger at this injustice has never subsided. I wasn’t expecting McEnroe’s reference to me. The surprise caught me off guard, and sent me down my rabbit hole. I needed a few hours to stuff all my emotional entrails back into pandora’s box and rezip my armor simply to finish my Friday after reading one sentence from McEnroe.
How the hell is Jane Doe ever going to overcome all she has endured? I can only imagine Jane Doe’s intense emotional needs and backlashes now. Yet Governor Malloy’s administration has locked her in a basement dungeon like she was Oliver Twist. Or to a fencepost like she was Matthew Shepard. And Malloy is supposed to be some hero to the LGBT universe.
McEnroe hasn’t written about Jane Doe yet, but one hopes he will. McEnroe has long been a voice for the voiceless. When I couldn’t tell my story in January 2007, he did it for me. But even if I could tell my story, I could not have lied to the Public Safety Committee of the General Assembly the way Chief Roberts did.
Watching Roberts on television was a little injury for me. Jane Doe has the big ones like rape and slavery, and now the little ones, thanks to Joette Katz, the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families. Katz testified before the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee and used Jane Doe’s case to beg for money for a juvenile girls facility that Jane Doe will never be put in.
Katz went so far Monday, April 21, 2014 in the Hartford Courant to attack Romano as a liar. Katz op-ed pled how Jane Doe is criminally violent. Someone with Jane Doe’s traumatic history is unlikely to be peaceful. But Katz should know how to care for her, not lock her up in seg and attack her attorney.
And Katz plays a dangerous game, Romano said. “She is impugning my professional career,” he said. “She said I have misrepresented things I can prove.”
To Romano’s knowledge, Katz has not filed a grievance against him for violations of the Lawyers Code of Professional Conduct. Katz, in her political garb (as opposed to her previous black robe from the Supreme Court bench) inflected upon lawlerly duties to truth in penning her op-ed.
Is a grievance against Katz a plausibility? She is still a lawyer. Did she abandon her fealty to legality when she asked the juvenile court to transfer Jane Doe to adult prison? She said she did so with great reluctance and sadness. But to Romano, this move violated the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, and of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.
All children in DCF custody have needs which the DCF has to meet, and Romano said that this placement in adult prison does not meed Jane Doe’s needs. It sounds like a false arrest to me, and another cause of action for her lawyers.
Judge Robert Chatigny last week in federal court told the parties to negotiate. One assumes the parties are working in good faith to negotiate this out. Romano refused to divulge details.
One would love to see the Weather Underground emerge to break Jane Doe out of prison like they did with Timothy Leary. But Jane Doe needs intense care, not asylum in Algeria. The Weather Underground would not have the resources to put Jane Doe in intensive psychotherapy. Yet direct action can pressure Malloy and his henchmen to do the right thing: make sure Jane Doe has appropriate psychiatric care.
She is 17. She wrote in the affidavit she doesn’t expect to make it until she is 25. We have a societal responsibility to provide her needs. She is a ward of the state, and we have essentially locked her in a basement, and forced her to beg for more gruel.
Troubles and travails at DCF in part brought down John Rowland. DCF harbors the potential to do the same to Dan Malloy. He bears ultimate responsibility for Jane Doe. As chief elected official, he is the lawyer for every citizen in Connecticut. If Jane Doe is his metaphorical client, has he committed malpractice by locking her up in solitary confinement?
The state should not be adding trauma onto her already long list of traumas. She will no doubt have PTSD for this unjust arrest. She will decompensate. It will be ugly. Gov. Malloy’s administration has the duty to insure Jane Doe has the tools to deal with these decompensations so she can live well past the age of 25, the age at which Jane Doe can’t see past.