Vanessa Sapien

Vanessa Sapien

Mental Health Program Director, Just Detention International


Vanessa is the Mental Health Program Director of Just Detention International (JDI). As a member of JDI’s program team, she provides training and technical assistance to corrections officials, advocates, and service providers on how to keep prisoners safe from sexual violence. She also works closely with incarcerated survivors of sexual abuse at the California Institution for Women, including by offering confidential, one-on-one counseling. Prior to joining JDI, Vanessa spent several years providing rape crisis and domestic violence services to women in the community. Vanessa is bilingual (Spanish/English) and a graduate of Azusa Pacific University with a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology and Professional Clinical Counseling. A life-long disability rights advocate, Vanessa has worked as a film and television actress for over 20 years, fighting for accurate media portrayals of people with disabilities. She is a former wheelchair tennis champion.