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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Just Detention International, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Crime & Law, Crime Prevention, MeToo Movement, Sexual Abuse Prevention

Mission: Just Detention International (JDI) is a health and human rights organization that seeks to end sexual violence in all forms of detention. JDI has three core goals: to hold government officials accountable for prisoner rape; to promote public attitudes that value the health and safety of people behind bars; and to ensure that those who have survived sexual abuse get the help they need.

Results: One of our signature victories was the release of binding national standards to address sexual abuse in detention. Issued by the Department of Justice in 2012, these standards spell out lifesaving reforms — such as safe housing for transgender prisoners, access to confidential counseling for rape survivors, and limits to invasive pat searches. We helped craft PREA standards, and set out to prove that they work. We go inside facilities; from a small lockup in Washington State, to the massive jail in downtown Miami, to state prisons in California, Georgia, and South Carolina — to name a few. We train prison officials on how to prevent and respond to sexual abuse — and teach inmates about their right to be safe and how to get help if they are not.

Target demographics: We make sure prisoners get help for any sexual abuse they have experienced, no matter when or where it occurred. For it’s a sad fact that U.S. prisons are filled with men and women who endured devastating trauma before they were ever locked up. Trapped in violent facilities, they suffer additional pain that makes it nearly impossible to return home successfully upon their release.

Geographic areas served: JDI fights for laws and policies to end prisoner rape — and puts these rules into practice. Our efforts go far beyond fixing bad policies. We change the culture of prisons and jails, so that every person can keep their dignity while serving time.

Programs: JDI’s advocacy has led to unprecedented changes. We reversed a federal rule that blocked rape crisis centers from helping prisoners; we crafted policies to prevent sexual abuse in immigration facilities; and we won vital protections for LGBT inmates. We make sure that everyone whose job it is to keep inmates safe — at the federal, state, and local levels — takes that responsibility seriously and is held accountable.

Community Stories

75 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 5

Fantastic support and real legislative results! My life has been transformed and revived by the work this agency has assisted me to accomplish. i was violated and raped by 'correction officer' in the DC jail in 1997. A group of us survivors and Just Detention International have accomplished so much to support incarcerated persons. They support inmates and persons released by letting us know we are not alone. We are connected by similar tragedies in our lives and by the ongoing summits they organize to promote the protection of people who happen to be behind bars. Just Detention International helps us all to remember that rape is Never part of the penalty for committing a crime.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Just Detention International is a group that is, quite simply, changing the world. Through policy reform, advocacy, and direct work with survivors of prisoner rape, this human rights organization has helped bring about the most significant prison reform in the United States in more than 30 years.

JDI has also begun to expand its work to parts of the world where HIV in prisons looms as a major threat to community health. This expansion will build on the group's reputation for hard-hitting advocacy and its expertise about what really works to keep people safe.

Notably, this group's impressive record of accomplishment has been undertaken with a lean budget and small but tenacious staff. I can't think of an organization more worthy of support!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Through my training with JDI I have acquired skills and valuable knowledge that assists me with my work and treatment of my clients. This knowledge I can pass onto different levels within my organization: social workers, top management and general staff.

The service JDI has rendered is particularly important in the orientation of new clients, better equipping them to protect themselves and makes their stay in the facility more bearable.


Client Served

Rating: 5

JDI was the first organization to reach out to me when I was sexually abused and raped in prison, since 2005- 2011. JDI has been there for me emotionally and once I was released they were there for me physically. A great non profit that puts people and rights first.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Women's Center-High Desert, Inc. has been involved with Just Detention International since 2005. We work closely together to provide confidential rape ciisis counseling to incarcerated victims of sexual assault. Our pilot site is at Californa Correctional Institution-Tehachapi. We have presented our program at the National Sexual Assault Conference in Los Angeles as well as the California Probation, Parole, and Corrections conference in San Francisco. Due to Just Detention International's continued work on the PREA standards, we were invited to attend a listenting session hosted by the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. We value our working relationship with Just Detention International and truly believe that we are helping to target a population that has been overlooked and ignored for too long.

1 Scott Howard-Smith

Client Served

Rating: 5

While incarcerated, I sustained repeated sexual assaults via forced prostitution at the hands of prison gang members for over one year. I sought assistance from over twenty prisoner-rights groups throughout the country. None of them responded to me. I then saw an advertisement for JDI and wrote a letter, believing in my heart it was a wasted postage stamp. I was on the brink of suicide when a response from JDI was delivered. The response was quick and provided me with valuable resources, a healing guide, and more importantly, sincere words of encouragement. They were the only organization to offer a hand of hope when honestly I had no one. During my ordeal, for well over a year after initial contact, JDI stayed in touch with me. Even after my release, they were there for me to ensure that I found a therapist to work with in the city where I was living. The staff is sincere in its dedication to eliminate sexual abuse in detention facilities of all types, all over the world. They may never know that I had already planned my suicide, gathered the necessary tools, and made arrangements to hang myself. JDI's letter showed up only 3 days prior to the date I had selected to end my life and it gave me the hope necessary to rebuild my desire to live.

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