Stories and Profiles

Just Detention International: Fighting sexual violence in detention worldwide

No matter what crime someone may have committed, rape is not part of the penalty.

Just Detention International (JDI) is a health and human rights organization that seeks to end sexual abuse in all forms of detention. JDI’s core goals are 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 survivors of this type of violence get the help they need.

JDI was founded in 1980 by survivors of prisoner rape who refused to be silenced by the horrors they endured while locked up. Today, JDI remains the only organization in the world that is dedicated exclusively to the elimination of sexual violence in detention. JDI played an instrumental role in the passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act, the nation’s federal law addressing this crisis and a milestone victory for human rights. The law paved the way for JDI’s pioneering work inside prisons and jails to to ensure every prisoner’s safety and dignity.

This series of photographs captures landmark moments in JDI’s history of fighting prisoner rape, from its founding more than three decades ago up to the present day. The common thread that links these images is the courage of survivors. Their commitment to speaking out against this violence, and to ensuring that no one else has to live through it, has made every one of JDI’s victories possible.