• Allison Samsel Communications and Development Associate

    Allison Samsel is JDI’s Communications and Development Associate. In this role, she assists with JDI’s supporter engagement efforts and helps develop content for JDI’s website and social media platforms. Allison’s previous experience includes supporting arts programming for youth in underserved schools and in Los Angeles County Probation camps and detention centers, grassroots social justice organizing, and social media marketing.

  • Christian Vien Operations Officer

    Christian Vien is an Operations Officer at JDI. He provides research and administrative assistance to JDI’s training and technical assistance programs for corrections agencies nationwide. With a background in visual art, Christian also helps develop materials for JDI’s domestic work. Prior to joining JDI, he worked as a case manager and as a freelance artist working to fundraise for civil rights organizations and youth sports programs in the Bay Area. Christian is bilingual in Vietnamese and English.

  • Cynthia Totten Deputy Executive Director

    Cynthia Totten, Esq, is one of JDI’s Deputy Executive Directors, based in its Washington, D.C., office. Cynthia leads JDI’s national training and technical assistance  program, supporting the work  of state and tribal sexual assault coalitions, victim advocates, corrections officials, and funding administrators to ensure that incarcerated survivors have access to crisis services. Additionally, she works with corrections agencies on adopting policies that keep prisoners safe from sexual abuse. A lawyer with nearly two decades of experience in human and civil rights work, Cynthia also advocates to bring basic international human rights standards into U.S. prisons and jails, and has contributed to JDI’s federal policy and international programs.

  • Doreen Gaura Program Officer

    Doreen Gaura is a Program Officer at JDI-South Africa. She trains corrections officers and other stakeholders; assists in the coordination of a civil society network to uphold detainee rights; conducts research and advocacy; coordinates JDI-SA’s communications work; and supports survivors of sexual violence in detention. Prior to joining JDI-SA, Doreen was involved in advocacy promoting the rights of children, women, and LGBTI people with various NGOs in South Africa and Zimbabwe. She is a widely published writer and blogger who has written extensively on human rights issues, especially related to race, gender, sexuality, culture, and identity.

  • Edward Cervantes Program Officer

    Edward Cervantes is a Program Officer at JDI. A member of JDI’s domestic program and survivor outreach teams, he responds to letters from incarcerated survivors of sexual abuse. He also helps maintain the database of survivor letters and provides research assistance. Edward, who worked at JDI from 2006 to 2009 and before rejoining the organization in 2019, has experience in policy analysis, grants management, and community journalism.

  • Jesse Lerner-Kinglake Communications Director

    Jesse Lerner-Kinglake, MA, is JDI’s Communications Director. Jesse coordinates JDI’s print and online publications and serves as its primary media contact. He has extensive experience managing communications projects for non-governmental organizations in the U.S and the U.K. Prior to joining JDI, he served as Communications Manager for the International Rescue Committee UK. Jesse is a trained rape crisis counselor.

  • Jessica Serrano Seipel Program Director

    Jessica Serrano Seipel, MPH, is a Program Director at JDI. As part of the domestic programs team, Jessica supports community rape crisis centers and corrections agencies in developing partnerships to ensure incarcerated survivors get the help they need. Jessica also supports survivors at a California women’s prison by facilitating trauma-informed art workshops.  Previously, she worked at rape crisis centers, domestic violence programs and sexual health agencies across California as an advocate and educator. She is a trained rape crisis counselor.

  • Julie Abbate National Advocacy Director

    Julie Abbate is JDI’s National Advocacy Director, based in its Washington, D.C. office. She leads JDI’s federal and state policy work, advocating for government action to address sexual abuse behind bars. Julie has spent most of her 25-year legal career fighting for prisoners’ rights. She comes to JDI after 15 years at the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she focused on combating sexual abuse in women’s prisons. Julie was also a member of the Attorney General’s PREA Working Group, which drafted the national Prison Rape Elimination Act standards. She is a certified PREA auditor.

  • Kris Mady Senior Program Officer

    Kris Mady is a Senior Program Officer at JDI. As part of the domestic programs team, Kris helps bring together corrections agencies and community rape crisis centers, ensuring that incarcerated survivors can get vital services to help them heal. Kris also supports JDI’s groundbreaking wellness programs inside prisons and jails, and responds to letters and crisis calls from incarcerated survivors. Previously, Kris worked at a rape crisis center providing services to survivors via hotline, hospital and legal accompaniment, and support groups.

  • Kristin Hall Deputy Executive Director

    Kristin Hall is one of JDI’s Deputy Executive Directors. She oversees JDI’s fundraising and communication efforts, educating supporters about sexual abuse in detention, working with allies to create programs that will make detention safer, and securing support from foundations, government agencies, and individuals. She also oversees JDI’s survivor outreach program. Prior to joining JDI, Kristin spent more than 15 years working as an advocate for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Working in domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers, she provided crisis counseling and criminal justice advocacy, supervised volunteer programs, and trained community professionals on gender-based violence and how to respond to survivors. Kristin is a trained domestic violence and rape crisis counselor.

  • Leelyn Aquino-Shinn Operations Director

    Leelyn Aquino-Shinn, MPA, is JDI’s Operations Director. She handles the administrative management of the organization and assists with staff and board development. She also leads JDI’s survivor outreach team, which responds to thousands of incarcerated survivors who contact JDI each year. Leelyn previously worked as a paralegal at an immigration law firm. Leelyn is bilingual in English and Tagalog and is a trained rape crisis counselor.

  • Linda McFarlane Executive Director

    Linda McFarlane, MSW, LCSW, is the Executive Director and Board Secretary of JDI. Linda manages all of JDI’s work, in the U.S. and internationally, and serves as the organization’s primary spokesperson. A licensed social worker, Linda has more than 30 years of experience working with survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. Previously, Linda served as JDI’s Deputy Executive Director. In that role, she trained corrections officials, medical and mental health practitioners, and direct service providers in preventing and responding to sexual violence behind bars. She also worked with corrections agencies on implementing programs to make their facilities safer. Before joining JDI in 2005, Linda worked in community rape crisis programs, foster care, and with adults with mental illness. She also worked as a staff member, unit supervisor, and therapist in a detention facility for girls with mental illness.

  • Matthew Van Winkle Senior Program Officer

    Matthew Van Winkle is a Senior Program Officer at JDI. He provides training and technical assistance to corrections agencies on sexual abuse prevention and response, especially by implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act standards. He works closely with rape crisis centers, helping them deliver high-quality services to incarcerated survivors. He is a part of JDI’s Survivor Outreach team, and also acts as a liaison between JDI’s Board of Directors and Executive Director Linda McFarlane.

  • Melissa Scheckner Social Work Intern

    Melissa Scheckner is JDI’s Social Work Intern. In this role, Melissa provides one-on-one counseling to survivors, including through JDI’s confidential hotline for prisoners. Melissa, who is currently studying for a Masters in Social Work at the University of Southern California, has also interned as a counselor at a human trafficking safe house and as a case manager for people in need of permanent supportive housing.

  • Nicole de la Torre Program Director

    Nicole de la Torre is a Program Director at JDI. As a member of the domestic programs team, Nicole provides training and technical assistance to corrections agencies and victim advocates on preventing and responding to sexual abuse in detention. A trained victim advocate, she responds to crisis calls from incarcerated survivors, and helps oversee the operation of JDI’s confidential hotline. She also supports incarcerated survivors by facilitating trauma-informed art workshops. Nicole is bilingual in English and Spanish.

  • Prince Nare Co-Director

    Prince Nare is Co-Director at JDI-South Africa. As a key member of the JDI-South Africa team, he coordinates JDI’s work inside South African prisons and works with other civil society organizations to highlight the needs, human rights, and dignity of inmates. Previously, Prince worked on a project of the University of Pretoria that aims to improve the health care at district hospitals. Additionally, Prince has researched and written extensively about human rights abuses and barriers to health and justice facing sex workers in several African countries.

  • Sasha Gear Co-Director

    Sasha Gear is Co-Director at JDI-South Africa. Sasha works closely with the South African Department of Correctional Services and civil society groups to address sexual abuse in detention and the associated health risks. Sasha also leads JDI-South Africa’s outreach with prisoner rape survivors. Before joining JDI, Sasha worked at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, where her research on sexual violence in South African prisons has helped bring this abuse out of the shadows. She has published several scholarly articles on issues of gender and sexual abuse in South African prisons.

  • Tara Graham National Program Director

    Tara Graham, MPH, is JDI’s National Program Director, based in its Washington, D.C. office. She provides training and technical assistance to corrections agencies on preventing and responding to sexual abuse in detention. She has been working on the development and implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act standards for more than 10 years, including at the National PREA Resource Center. Her research experience includes interviewing homeless and runaway youth and incarcerated women about issues including drug use, sexual behaviors, and experience with physical and sexual violence. Previously, Tara served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania working on HIV/AIDS prevention with an emphasis on women and youth.

  • Tonjie Reese Senior Program Officer

    Tonjie Reese, MAEd, is a Senior Program Officer at JDI. As a member of JDI’s domestic program and survivor outreach teams, she responds to survivor letters, provides support to prisoners through JDI’s crisis hotline, provides training to advocates and corrections staff on responding to survivors of sexual abuse in detention, and supports the development of inmate education materials. Tonjie comes to JDI with extensive experience as an advocate, with a focus on supporting young people from marginalized communities and stopping gender-based violence. She has held roles as a prevention program director, community educator, shelter advocate, national community initiatives coordinator, and program development consultant.

  • Unathi Mahlati Program Officer

    Unathi Mahlati is a Program Officer at JDI-South Africa. She conducts research, drafts internal policy/policies, and assists in providing training to the Department of Correctional Services’ officials on preventing and addressing sexual abuse of inmates inside their facilities. She also provides administrative and programme support and helps manage JDI-SA’s social media presence, media relations, and audio-visual production. Before joining JDI-SA, she was an intern at the Wits Justice Project, a program of the University of Witwatersrand’s Journalism Department that investigates miscarriages of justice within South Africa’s criminal justice system.

  • Vanessa Sapien Mental Health Program Director

    Vanessa Sapien, MA, is JDI’s Mental Health Program Director. As a member of JDI’s domestic programs team, she provides training and technical assistance for corrections staff, advocates, and service providers on how to keep prisoners safe from sexual violence. A mental health professional and trained domestic violence and rape crisis counselor, Vanessa has many years of experience helping survivors. She has received numerous awards for her clinical work, including a Presidential Service Award. Vanessa has also been recognized for her work in honoring diversity and social justice in mental health.