STAFF & BOARD


Survivor Council

Joseph Booth is a gay, HIV-positive man who lives in southern California. While incarcerated at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, in San Diego County, Joe was raped repeatedly by his cellmate over a period of four days. Joe’s attacker was known to prey on gay inmates, yet staff did nothing to protect him. Since his release, in 2009, Joe has given interviews and written articles for national media outlets about his experience behind bars. He is also actively involved in local community initiatives helping young people, such as the Bakersfield’s AIDS Project.

Tom Cahill was gang-raped and beaten while detained at a Texas jail. He had been arrested for civil disobedience after participating in a non-violent demonstration protesting the Vietnam War. Tom is a veteran human rights advocate committed to confronting, challenging, and correcting social injustices. He served as a Board member and President of Just Detention International from 1998 to 2006. His efforts culminated in the passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003, the first federal civil law to address prisoner rape. Tom lives in California with his wife.

Cecilia Chung is a transgender woman living with HIV. She is also a member of JDI's Board of Directors. Cecilia was forced to have sex with a male detainee at the San Francisco Jail. Cecilia is the former Deputy Director of the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco and serves as the Chair of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and as a board member of Women Organized to Respond to Life Threatening Disease (WORLD). She lives in California.

Garrett Cunningham was raped by a corrections officer in a Texas state prison. Since his release, Garrett has been actively involved in advocating for meaningful implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act. He has participated in legislative hearings, made public presentations, and offered media interviews. Garrett is the founder of Pen Friends and Services, a pen-pal service that provides resources and information to prisoners. He lives in Texas with his wife and their young children.

Nicole La Fontaine was recently released after serving 17 years at the California Institution for Women. She was an attorney prior to her incarceration for the attempted murder of her abusive husband. Nicole was sexually assaulted numerous times over the course of a year by a nurse and a correctional lieutenant while held at the Central California Women's Facility. Following the conviction of the nurse for a misdemeanor "sex with a confined person" charge, Nicole testified before a joint Senate Committee on prisoner rape. Her testimony was instrumental in changing California law to make it an automatic felony for a staff member to have sex with an inmate.

Alexis Giraldo is a transgender woman who is currently in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). She was beaten, assaulted, and raped by two different cellmates at Folsom State Prison in 2006. Alexis was injured by the assaults and reported it to multiple officers and medical staff, but was refused medical care for over two weeks. As a result of the sexual abuse and the lack of treatment, Alexis filed a lawsuit against the CDCR, which was eventually settled out of court. She has courageously shared her story with the media and policymakers and is a strong advocate for ending sexual abuse behind bars.

Hope Hernandez was sexually assaulted by a corrections officer in the medical unit of a privately-owned jail in Washington, D.C. Hope has been an outspoken advocate for survivors of sexual abuse behind bars and has shared her story with the media and government bodies. She played an important role in the passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Hope recently graduated with honors in Social Work. She resides on the East Coast with her young children.

Johanna Hudnall is a California prisoner currently incarcerated at Florence McClure Correctional Facility in Nevada. Before being transferred, she was raped by her work supervisor at Central California Women's Facility. Once released, Johanna plans to open a sober living facility for formerly incarcerated survivors of sexual abuse in detention.

Troy Isaac was just 12 years old when he was sexually assaulted by teenage boys at a California Youth Authority facility. Later in California state prisons, he suffered continuing sexual abuse and harassment. Troy is committed to raising awareness about sexual abuse behind bars and has shared his story with journalists, government officials, and politicians. He is the Executive Director of Hands On Advocacy Group, a Los Angeles based non-profit, and is involved in numerous efforts to protect and promote the rights of vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ, homeless, and disabled people.

Jan Lastocy was raped repeatedly for seven months by her prison work supervisor, while at a Michigan state prison. Years later, she and hundreds of other female prisoners settled a class action suit with the state of Michigan for over $100 million. Jan has shared her story with government officials and has been profiled extensively in JDI publications. She lives in Michigan with her family.

Frank Mendoza while in the custody of the Los Angeles County Jail, Frank suffered persistent harassment by corrections officers for being openly gay. After a particularly intense verbal attack, Frank was beaten and raped by an officer in the middle of the night. He was released a few days later, and filed formal complaints. Frank has spoken out against sexual abuse behind bars in JDI publications, at conferences, and to the media. He lives in California, where he continues to seek justice.

Michelle Norsworthy is a transsexual woman who is incarcerated at California Training Facility (CTF), a men’s prison. Michelle has suffered repeated sexual assaults in custody, including a gang-rape by inmates. She served as one of the first Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) peer educators when JDI piloted that program at the California Correctional Institution. After being transferred to CTF, Michelle created the facility’s first PREA Peer Education program and advocated for the adoption of national PREA standards to address sexual abuse in detention.

Bamby Salcedo was a victim of sexual assault while incarcerated in the early 1990s. Bamby has been able to overcome the trauma of her sexual assault by providing extensive expertise to JDI and other organizations serving incarcerated individuals and focusing on the need to prevent sexual assault of transgender individuals. Bamby currently works as the Project Coordinator for the Transgender Harm Reduction Project with the Division of Adolescent Medicine with Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Marilyn Shirley was raped by a corrections officer while she was incarcerated at the Federal Medical Facility in Carswell, Texas. Marilyn reported the assault, brought a civil suit against the officer, and was awarded $4 million. Since her release, Marilyn has repeatedly spoken out against the sexual abuse of women behind bars. She has given countless media interviews and her story was featured in JDI's publication, "Stories from Inside." She currently resides in Texas with her family.

Boa Smith served 29 years in prison before her release in November, 2012. A survivor of physical and sexual abuse prior to her incarceration, Boa endured years of sexual assault and harassment by prison staff. She served as a Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and HIV/AIDS Peer Educator, teaching inmates about their right to be free from sexual violence. She was also actively engaged in a dog training program and a survivors support group. In August 2013, Boa joined JDI staff as a Program Assistant.

Esmeralda Soto was forced to perform oral sex on an immigration official while at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility. The official later resigned and was sentenced to four months in jail. Esmeralda, who is transgender, came to the U.S. seeking asylum. Esmeralda has spoken out about the abuse she endured to government officials and to journalists. She lives in California.


Kimberly Yates was raped numerous times by an officer in a federal detention center. Her courageous efforts to report the predatory staff member eventually resulted in his termination and criminal conviction. Dedicated to raising awareness about sexual abuse behind bars, Kimberly has shared her story with journalists and policymakers and was a plaintiff in a successful class-action lawsuit against the Bureau of Prisons. She lives in Kentucky, where she owns her own business.