Prisoner rape is a crime and a human rights violation. Yet the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 200,000 adults and children are sexually abused behind bars in a single year. In most cases, the perpetrators are corrections staff -- officials whose very job it is to keep inmates safe.
For its victims, prisoner rape is a nightmare that does not end. Most survivors are sexually abused again and again. Abusive staff and inmates target people they see as most vulnerable, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender detainees and those who survived sexual abuse prior to being detained.
Prisoner rape survivors suffer serious emotional and physical consequences. They are at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and drug addictions, as well as contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Sexual abuse in detention is a global human rights crisis and JDI’s efforts extend beyond the U.S., including to South Africa where prisons are plagued by abuse and survivors run dramatic risks of contracting HIV.
Now the good news: prisoner rape is preventable. Prisons and jails with committed leaders, good policies, and sound practices can keep inmates safe.
JDI develops laws and policies, works with corrections facilities to train staff and educate inmates, and provides information and referrals to hundreds of prisoner rape survivors every year.
When the government removes someone’s freedom, it takes on an absolute responsibility to keep that person safe. No matter what crime someone has committed, rape is not part of the penalty.
“I’m still here because of JDI, because after my rape, since I could not find help or support I was going to kill myself. I have been abused most of my life, but you helped me hang in there by sending the information that you did. Keep up the fight for all of us who need you!” - Catherine
Read more survivor stories here.