Just Detention International, Inc.
July 25, 2012
I am a forensic psychiatrist, and one area of my expert testimony in court is sexual abuse of prisoners. A big problem for those who would end sexual abuse in prison is that its occurrence, though widespread, is generally secret, unknown to the public. Sexual abuse often goes unreported because the victim fears retaliation and is overwhelmed by shame. Until recently, the perpetrator, for example prison guards who rape and sexually abuse women prisoners, did not need to fear being exposed and punished. Just Detention International has worked relentlessly to reverse that shameful reality. The nonprofit has shined a public light on the dreadful sexual abuse that occurs on a daily basis in our jails, prisons and immigration lock-ups. JDI has led the movement, that by now includes other human rights groups, to support the survivors of sexual abuse behind bars and to change correctional practices that make sexual abuse possible. JDI has encouraged survivors to tell their stories, to participate in litigation to halt prison sexual abuse, and to campaign for legislation to protect prisoners from sexual abuse. JDI led the campaign to pass federal legislation, the Prison Rape Elimination Act, and then to demand that Attorney General Holder approve the Prison Rape Elimination Commission's standards for "zero tolerance" jail and prison management. When I testify in related litigation, I see the effects of JDI's work in the way survivors of prison sexual abuse transcend the shame and courageously stand up (against the omnipresent threat of retaliation) and say it was wrong and should not be permitted to happen again to others. The social justice work of JDI makes my work as a forensic psychiatrist possible - they give survivors the courage and support to stand up and speak out. JDI has had a huge impact on the way we understand sexual abuse behind bars, the amount of attention we give the problem, and the ways we work together to end this horrible injustice.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
The newfound courage in survivors of sexual abuse behind bars. With the public outcry JDI has propagated and publicized, and the great work JDI has done with individual survivors, they are no longer victims of shame, but rather they become indignant advocates for freedom from sexual victimization.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Give them a lot more resources, including grants and donations, to carry on their absolutely critical work.
Was your donation impactful?
How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?
How likely are you to donate to this group again?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
What specific problem, purpose, priority, or project prompted your gift?
My personal contact with survivors of sexual abuse behind bars as I assessed their plight in preparation for courtroom testimony.
Why did you make your donation at this time?
I always support JDI. They continually change their organization and their programs to fit evolving social events, and they are always at the cutting edge.
What would you tell others about this organization?
Absolutely, and I do, all the time.
Donor & I have been on the Board of JDI, I have consulted as a psychiatric expert, and I have long been a donor.