• 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 lives in California, where he continues to seek justice.

  • 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 recently graduated with honors in Social Work. She resides on the East Coast with her young children.

  • Jan Lastocy

    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. A leading advocate for prisoners’ rights, Jan has met with high-level government officials, written op-eds for national media outlets, and served as a guest speaker at trainings and conferences nationwide. She lives in Michigan with her family.

  • Johanna Hudnall

    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.

  • Joseph Booth

    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.

  • 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.

  • Nicole Wolfe

    Nicole Wolfe 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.

  • 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.

  • Russell Dan Smith

    Russell Dan Smith founded Just Detention International in 1980. Prior to launching People Organized to Stop the Rape of Imprisoned Persons (POSRIP), as JDI was then known, Dan was a prison activist committed to protecting himself and other inmates from rape.

  • 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 the founder of #Iamnolongersilent, which aims to promote the voices of prisoner rape survivors.

  • Tom Cahill

    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.

  • 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 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.