I am proud to support JDI. JDI focuses its efforts on a problem that only exists because we let it happen. JDI has had a key role in creating the standards that would eliminate sexual abuse in all areas of detention if adopted. And it works to ensure that everyone knows that adopting those standards is the only sane choice in a civilized society. JDI also provides critical resources for survivors who consistently let JDI know how important their work is on inmates' behalf. I'm lucky to have the chance to work with them!
JDI is a powerful, thoughtful, and effective organization. It provides leadership and expertise in policy research and advocacy, and its survivor outreach literally saves lives. It is growing internationally and its ambition could not be more noble -- to put an end to sexual abuse in detention.
I joined the Just Detention board over 3 1/2 years ago, and have continually marvelled at how this organization punches so far above its weight, working effectively both nationally and, now, internationally, to stop the sexual abuse of people who are incarcerated or otherwise detained. Domestically, this is an organization that had a critical role in getting the Prison Rape Elimination Act enacted (including by building a diverse coaltion across party lines), and ensuring that the PREA standards are meaningful ones, which are implemented effectively. From policy work, to consulting directly to penal institutions on the front lines, to advocating on behalf of victims of sexual abuse, JDI has been incredibly effective (particularly given its relatively small size), in reducing the risk that people who are in detention suffer life-changing abuse. I am particularly excited about the impact that JDI will have internationally in the years to come. I am proud to serve on JDI's board and hope that others will take the time to learn more about JDI's human rights mission and record of success.
I have been a Board Member for JDI for about 2 years. Prior to that, I worked with them when they came into the prison I was Warden over and helped us develop a protocol to respond to victims of sexual assault. They assisted us in developing the procedures, and then helped with teaching the prison staff the appropriate protocols. They also provided training and information to the inmate population so they would understand what their rights were and what to expect.
The assistance JDI provided the Institution made the environment better for the inmates, but also made the environment better for the staff. They felt much better prepared to deal with these types of situations when they arose.
As a Board Member, I continue to see how effective JDI is in changing lives. Whether it be their advocacy work for those still incarcerated, or making sure that as many inmates as possible get a message of hope during the holidays through their Christmas Card Campaign, they truly are an organization that believes in their mission.
This is an organization that makes every decision with the thought of helping prisoners recover from sexual assault. Their business decisions are based on what's best for the organization as a whole and for the people they are dedicated to helping. I have never worked with a more dedicated group of individuals endeavoring to change and save lives. In the few short years they have been in existence, they have made the message that a prison sentence doesn't include sexual assault something that the public now understands. I am proud to be a Board member of such a worthy organization.
I came across JDI through the articles written by their Chair and Executive Director for the New York Review of Books. These were engaging, well researched pieces that combined detailed statistical analysis with heart felt testimony from prison rape survivors. As a supporter of prison charities, here in the UK, and someone concerned about sexual assault in custody, I contacted JDI to find out what they knew about the landscape outside of the US. Here they totally exceeded my expectations. We've been communicating and working ever since on discovering ways that work in different countries can impact on one another, exploring best practice and building coalitions - not merely between similar NGOs but across LGBT, religious, health and human rights organisations. What most impresses me, and is evidenced by the comments here, is the compassion with which JDI's staff deal with survivors of prison rape who are otherwise ignored, never heard or not believed. JDI gives a voice to the voiceless. That in itself is worthy of support but the publication of the PREA standards also showed how effective JDI is at getting government to listen to those voices and act.
I've been involved with a lot of different charitable organizations doing different kinds of work, but I've never found one where my dollar or my hour goes farther than it does with JDI. On a lean budget, with a dedicated, smart, strategic staff, JDI is making a huge difference fighting one of the biggest human rights problems in the U.S. Over 216,600 people are sexually abused in American detention facilities every year, and JDI is forcing the government to do something about it. I think it's reasonable to hope that number may be cut in half in the coming years, or even more--and if it is, it'll be mostly because of JDI's work. It's an extraordinary accomplishment, fighting a problem most organizations won't touch, and one that most people have thought intractable. And it's all the more extraordinary when you consider how much JDI has done with such a small budget, in just a few years.