Tell Shelby County Sheriff: Free 16-Year-Old Girl from Inhumane Solitary Confinement Now

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Jane Doe* is 16-years old. She is 200 miles away from her family, isolated in inhumane solitary confinement at the Tennessee Prison for Women. Other than one January meeting with her lawyers, she has not had a visitor since last September. We only have until Wednesday, February 14 to make our voices heard.

For more than four months, she has been in solitary confinement - locked in a small cell without human contact, despite the fact she has not gone to trial and no judge or jury has convicted her. Her parents are not able to visit. Her room is the size of a closet.

Shelby County, the jurisdiction that arrested Jane Doe, accommodates male youth being tried as if they were adults in youth facilities, but repeatedly transfers female youth to facilities designed for adults. When Sheriff Bill Oldham sends female youth to adult prison facilities, they are more likely to be held in solitary confinement.

Like all teenagers, Jane Doe is not safe in solitary. Solitary confinement is dangerous for kids, having devastating effects including trauma, psychosis, and increased risk of suicide. Solitary deprives kids of critical supports they need to get better. It makes facilities, staff, and youth less safe.

A youth facility in Nashville is able and willing to accommodate Jane Doe safely and securely without the use of solitary. Yet, Sheriff Oldham refuses to move her and so she continues to sit in isolation in an adult facility.

On Wednesday, February 14th during Jane Doe’s arraignment, a judge can decide to move Jane Doe out of solitary to a secure youth facility. Anything less than a decision to move her would be inhumane.

Tell Sheriff Oldham it is time to move Jane Doe.

*Disclaimer: The name of the young person has been changed to Jane Doe to protect her identity.

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