What if it were your child?
Every Mother’s Day, Linda hears from her son, Adam. Even after he was incarcerated, Adam would send a card or call. “Adam still never forgets Mother’s Day,” she says with a laugh. “One year he made a card using colored pencils — it reminded me of when he was little.”
The two have always been close. Growing up in Mississippi, Adam, the youngest of three boys, relied on his mother for direction and encouragement — and he thrived. “He was a happy boy, and very smart. He loved spending time outdoors, just like most kids.”
But as a teenager Adam struggled with drugs. His addiction landed him in trouble with the law, and he spent years in and out of prison. Despite this, Linda stood by Adam’s side, and tried to help him get better.
Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come for Adam. In 2008, he travelled to New Orleans on a 72-hour pass from his Mississippi detention facility. Because he didn’t return to the facility on time, he was arrested and sent to Orleans Parish Prison.
Adam was targeted for abuse from the moment he arrived at the prison. During his two months there, he was choked until he passed out, raped, and beaten repeatedly by other inmates. Adam filed many grievances and asked for medical help. He also requested protective custody, to keep him safe from further abuse. Staff ignored each one of his pleas for help.
Linda was shattered when Adam told her what happened. “Being a mother, you want to protect your children from harm,” she says. “When your child is in prison, you expect the government will do its job and keep him safe.”
Today, Adam and Linda are both committed to doing whatever it takes to end prisoner rape. Last year, Adam shared his story with the Department of Justice’s Review Panel on Prison Rape. His courage helped hold Orleans Parish Prison accountable for its shameful failure to keep inmates safe.
This Mother’s Day, help us tell the stories of more survivors — and the loved ones who support them — by making a donation to JDI. Your gift will help us reach out to more people like Adam and Linda, who are essential to the fight against sexual abuse behind bars.