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July 30, 2014

Review of Just Detention International, Inc

This review of Just Detention International, Inc was first published on Great Nonprofits on 28 July 2014. It is authored by Deakin University criminologist Dr Richard Evans.

Just Detention International, Inc. Review

IRichard Evans am a Lecturer in Criminology with a particular interest in penal policy. For many years I have been concerned about the issues of rape and sexual abuse in prisons, and distressed by the lack of awareness of and interest shown by many other professionals, the media and the public. I became aware of the work of JDI (then known as Stop Prison Rape) through a long letter written by David Kaiser and published in the London Review of Books. The letter set out the key issues so succinctly and effectively that I used it as a teaching resource. I also made contact with the organization, and have since become a financial supporter.In my home country, Australia, we have no equivalent organization to JDI, and as a result we have no equivalent to the Prison Rape Elimination Act, we do not have the network of support groups for prison rape survivors, we do not have reporting mechanisms to even know the rate of sexual assault in our prisons.By personalizing and sharing the stories of real prisoners, by staying out of (unwinnable) arguments about punitive policies, and instead focusing on our social duty to ensure the basic safety and dignity of those people society incarcerates, JDI has made a positive difference in the lives of countless thousands of the most vulnerable people in the world. There are many non-profit organizations who do great work in all sorts of fields – from community sports to supporting elite artists — but my measure of what makes a really great non-profit is that it effectively helps people who no one else wants to know. JDI has no particular religious focus, but as a committed Christian I see its work as exemplifying Christian love in action. 

I am proud to support JDI, and I regard them as a model for civic society advocacy and support on this issue. 


If I had to make changes to this organization, I would…

JDI has a focus on the United States which is quite natural, as that is the nation where it began and also the US has rates of incarceration vastly greater than anywhere else in the world. However, there is an unspoken assumption in many email campaigns and the like that I am a US citizen. I understand why this happens, but a conscious effort to ‘internationalise’ the language and presentation of JDI materials would be welcome. The rest of the worlds needs you!

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector? Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has? Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others? Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit? 2014

Click here to read a related post by Richard Evans questioning why prison rape remains a joke.

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