Sexual Violence: Current Issues Among Adolescents & Juveniles in Detention
Just Detention International (JDI) is a health and human
rights organization that seeks to end sexual abuse in all
forms of detention.
JDI’s Core Beliefs:
• When the government takes away someone’s
freedom, it takes on an absolute responsibility to
protect that person’s safety.
• No matter what crime someone might have
committed, rape is not part of the penalty.
• Prisoner rape is preventable, through committed
management, strong policies, and proper
Goals of JDI’s work:
• To hold government officials accountable for
• To change flippant public attitudes toward
sexual abuse behind bars.
• To ensure that survivors of this type of
violence get the help they need.
Prevalence of Sexual Violence in Adult
Prisons and Jails and Juvenile Facilities
Estimated numbers of individuals
victimized in 2008:*
• Adult Prisons 91,400
• Adult Jails 108,100
• Juvenile Facilities 17,100
*From the BJS surveys of sexual violence, as
reported in DOJ PREA Notice of Proposed Rule
Making, released January 24, 2011.
Sexual Violence in Detention
Sexual violence may
– Sexual harassment
– Protective pairing
– Sexual exploitation
– Sexual abuse
Perpetrators may use:
– Offers of protection
In 2008, there were 7,444
formal allegations of sexual
abuse in adult prisons and
jails throughout the US.
prison and jail inmates stated
that they experienced sexual
abuse over the same period.
Anyone may be a target of sexual violence in
detention, but are there any groups that are
at a heightened risk?
•Paths to Recovery
Every survivor who writes to JDI receives a Survivor
Packet, including JDI’s Resource Guide for Survivors of
Sexual Abuse Behind Bars and other materials.
“While incarcerated, I sustained repeated sexual assaults via forced
prostitution at the hands of prison gang members. I was on the brink of
suicide when a response from JDI was delivered. JDI was the only
organization to offer a hand of hope when honestly I had no one. JDI's
letter showed up only three days prior to the date I had selected to end
my life and it gave me the hope necessary to rebuild my desire to live.”
– Scott Howard, prisoner
“I used to feel shame and
humiliation about what
happened to me in that Texas
jail. Eventually, I came to
realize that it was not my
shame — it was my country’s
– Tom Cahill, prisoner rape survivor
and former JDI President
Troy, Frank, and Cecilia
JDI Survivors Video