Prisoner Rape Survivors and Advocates Gather to Pen Thousands of Holiday Cards to Inmates
Media Contact: Jesse Lerner-Kinglake
(office) 213-384-1400, ext. 113
Los Angeles, December 12, 2012 -- On Saturday, December 15, prisoner rape survivors and supporters of Just Detention International (JDI) will come together to write thousands of holiday cards to inmates who have endured horrific sexual abuse while in the government’s custody. This event is part of Words of Hope, JDI’s campaign to break the fear and isolation among survivors of rape in prison.
Several prisoner rape survivors will attend Saturday’s card-writing event, including men and women who themselves received Words of Hope greetings while behind bars. Joe Booth, who was raped repeatedly at a California state prison, is one of them. “As a rape survivor, I know how lonely and isolating it is to be in prison during the holidays,” said Joe. “A card, even one from a stranger, can restore your faith in humanity – as it did for me. That’s why this year I’m going to write as many as I possibly can.”
JDI Survivor Council member Boa Smith, who was released last month after serving 30 years in a women’s prison, is also looking forward to handwriting personal messages to survivors who are still behind bars. "I know that there are thousands of men and women, just like me, who need to know that they haven’t been forgotten, and that their voice matters,” said Boa. “Now that I’m on the outside, I want to do what I can to help them heal. Getting a card might not seem like a big deal, but to people who are locked up, it means everything.”
Troy Isaac, also a JDI Survivor Council member, was subjected to repeated sexual assaults during his 24 years in juvenile and adult facilities. He knows first-hand how messages from the outside can help survivors stave off loneliness and despair. “To receive a warm note from someone really helps out a lot in prison,” said Troy. “So many inmates never receive any letters, not even over the holidays. This campaign offers people a chance to give free hope.”
This is JDI’s third year running Words of Hope. Last year, JDI sent more than 1,700 personal messages to inmates across the country. The response from prisoners was overwhelming; many credited the cards they received with saving their lives. As a result, JDI has ramped up Words of Hope this year, aiming to send 10,000 greetings to survivors across the country. In addition to handwriting individual cards, anyone who wishes to participate in Words of Hope can submit greetings on JDI’s website or via Twitter.
This event will be held at JDI’s Los Angeles offices, at 3325 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 340, Los Angeles, CA 90010, between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm.
Media contact: Jesse Lerner-Kinglake, 213-384-1400 ext. 113 or 424-230-4540.
Just Detention International is a health and human rights organization that seeks to end sexual abuse in all forms of detention.