• Cornelius

    Cornelius is a survivor of two sexual assaults in the Florida prison system, including one when he was just 18 years old. After the second assault, Cornelius contracted HIV. Since his release from prison in 2020, Cornelius has worked closely with JDI on sharing his story to raise awareness about sexual abuse behind bars.

  • Dee Farmer

    Dee Farmer is a legal expert and consultant. A legend in the transgender rights movement, Dee was the first transgender plaintiff to bring a case before the United States Supreme Court. In the precedent-setting Farmer v. Brennan case, the Court ruled that incarcerated people have a right to be protected from harm and that prisons are responsible for their safety. Her current work focuses on gaining relief for disadvantaged incarcerated persons and establishing reentry programs, including housing for transgender and LGB people upon their release from prison. Dee lectures at law schools, legal conferences, and community events about transgender rights, and she is a legal consultant for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.

  • Dwight Hines

    Dwight Hines is a transgender inmate in the Texas state prison system, who has endured countless sexual assaults. Dwight, who has been in contact with JDI for nearly a decade, is an outspoken supporter of JDI’s work fighting prisoner rape.

  • Esmeralda Soto

    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.

  • Frank Mendoza

    Frank Mendoza was harassed and subjected to homophobic slurs by corrections officers at the Los Angeles County Jail. 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 currently lives in Oregon.

  • Hope Hernandez

    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 has a degree in social work and lives near Washington, D.C.

  • Jossie Ramos

    Jossie Ramos is currently an inmate at the California Institution for Women. A survivor of repeated rapes at the hands of a staff member, Jossie receives crisis counseling from a JDI staff member. Last year, Jossie successfully sued the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; she donated a portion of her settlement funds to JDI.

  • Johanna Mills

    Johanna Mills was recently released from the California Institution for Women. While incarcerated at a different facility in California, she was raped by her work supervisor. Johanna plans to open a sober living facility for formerly incarcerated survivors of sexual abuse in detention.

  • Jonas Caballero

    Jonas Caballero is a legal advocate and survivor of repeated sexual abuse by staff in a New York City jail. After the assaults, Jonas took an interest in prison law, and has been victorious in numerous pro se prisoners’ rights actions. A former US-UK Fulbright Scholar, Jonas currently works as a legal advocate at the Abolitionist Law Center, a public interest law firm committed to ending state violence and mass incarceration. As an ABA-Certified Paralegal, Jonas is entering his first year as a law student at Albany Law in Fall 2022.

  • Joseph Booth (1968-2021)

    Joe Booth was raped repeatedly by his cellmate over a period of four days while incarcerated in a California state prison. Joe’s attacker was known to prey on gay inmates, yet staff did nothing to protect him. Following his release in 2009, Joe gave interviews and wrote articles for national media outlets about his experience behind bars. Joe passed away in February, 2021.

  • Ky Peterson

    Ky Peterson is a leading advocate for the rights of incarcerated transgender people. In 2011 Ky, a black transgender man from Georgia, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing his rapist in self defense. While in prison, Ky fought for the rights of incarcerated transgender people to have access to gender-affirming health care. In 2017, Ky co-founded Freedom Overground with his partner, Pinky Shear. He was released from prison in 2020.

  • Maribel Reister

    Maribel Reister was one of the first-ever Prison Rape Elimination Act peer educators, as part of JDI’s trailblazing program at the California Institute for Women. In this role, she helped teach fellow inmates about their absolute right to be safe from sexual abuse. A survivor of staff sexual abuse, Maribel has continued to speak out against prisoner rape since her release from prison in 2014.

  • Michelle Norsworthy

    Michelle-Lael Norsworthy is a transgender woman who spent three decades in men’s prisons in California. Michelle-Lael 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 Correctional Training Facility, Michelle created that prison’s first PREA Peer Education program and advocated for the adoption of national PREA standards to address sexual abuse in detention.

  • Nathan Jones

    Nathan Jones is a survivor of staff sexual abuse in a Wyoming prison. Since being released, Nathan and his wife, Carolyn, have worked with JDI on sharing his story as widely as possible, so that no one has to endure what he did.

  • Rodney Roussell

    Rodney Roussell was sexually assaulted repeatedly by other inmates at the Orleans Parish Prison. Rodney began corresponding with JDI in 2013, and has emerged as one of our most powerful spokespeople. In 2018, Rodney was the subject of a groundbreaking short documentary produced by the New York Times.

  • Stephanie Walker

    Stephanie Walker was sexually assaulted by an officer in a Georgia prison. Since her release, Stephanie has shared her story with the press and advocates. She is a member of JDI’s Board of Director and is the founder of #Iamnolongersilent, which aims to promote the voices of prisoner rape survivors. Stephanie also helped spearhead a recent successful legislative effort to lengthen the statute of limitations for sexual assault in Georgia.

  • Tom Cahill (1937-2021)

    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. He passed away on June 11, 2021.

  • Troy Isaac

    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 Troy’s Project for Humanity, a Los Angeles based non-profit, and is involved in numerous efforts to protect and promote the rights of vulnerable populations, including people who are LGBTQ, unhoused people, and people who have disabilities.

  • Zahara Ishun Aseodo-Osupa

    Zahara Ishun Aseodo-Osupa was assaulted repeatedly in a men’s prison in Georgia, after being placed in a cell with a known predator. Zahara is the co-founder and Executive Director of TRANScending Barriers, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that fights for the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people in Georgia.