Caring Collectively for People
in Women’s Prisons
We monitor and challenge the abusive conditions inside California women’s prisons.
We fight for the release of women and trans prisoners.
We support women and trans people in their process of re-entering the community.
Dear CCWP Community,
Where do we begin? This year we hired Elizabeth Nomura, a full-time Membership Organizer who has worked tirelessly to support and grow our base—especially formerly and currently incarcerated people. We fought back against reproductive violence, empowering survivors of forced sterilizations in prison to apply for their long overdue reparations and helping thirty-five survivors so far to get their compensation checks. We passed the historic Racial Justice Act for All, allowing our inside members to challenge racial discrimination in their cases and sentences, and we’ve been successful in shutting down prisons. And using legislation that we helped to pass, we have been able to successfully support resentencing and release for several people with life sentences.
We co-founded the FCI Dublin Solidarity Coalition to demand an end to the rampant pattern of sexual violence at the hands of the Warden, guards and staff, and we brought the call to #DropLWOP all the way to the United Nations. We celebrated longtime member Jane Dorotik’s colossal win against a wrongful conviction, and organized alongside Wendy Howard and Marisela Andrade to demand freedom for all criminalized survivors. We have also experienced deep grief and loss with the passing of loved ones impacted by the cruelty of prisons, inside and out—a painful reminder that our 25+ years of work against medical negligence must continue to grow stronger.
Some of our priorities for 2023 include:
- Building a campaign to close women’s prisons in California and invest in community-based care, based on a groundbreaking report that will be released at the beginning of 2023.
- Fighting for accountability and freedom for survivors of sexual violence inside FCI Dublin and everywhere.
- Growing our in-person legal visiting teams, after nearly two years of pandemic-related shut downs.
- Demanding reproductive justice behind bars, fully implementing the historic reparations for forced sterilizations program and developing “know your reproductive rights” resources for and with people in women’s prisons.
- Hiring a full-time campaign and policy coordinator to advance our goals of decarceration, gender justice, and abolition!
In love and solidarity,
Courtney Hanson – CCWP Development & Communications Coordinator
Elizabeth “Leesa” Nomura – CCWP Membership Organizer
Rest in Power,
Rest in Peace
Sue Russo, long time prisoner rights advocate, member of CCWP and all-around amazingly good person, died in Central California Women’s Facility on September 29, 2022 from cruel medical neglect by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
Sentenced to Life Without the Possibility of Parole in 1996, Sue’s sentence was commuted by Governor Brown in 2017 to 25 to life in recognition of her history as a Domestic Violence survivor and for her exemplary rehabilitation. She had been turned down by the parole board in spite of her diligence, caring, sincere remorse, and rehabilitation.
One of Sue’s most significant accomplishments during her 28 years of incarceration was the co-founding and facilitation of Prison of Peace, now a non-profit organization available for prisoners in many state prisons. Prison of Peace aims to end violence in prison through teaching conflict resolution and restorative justice skills and processes.
While Sue was at Valley State Prison she was diagnosed with Valley Fever, a chronic condition endemic to California’s Central Valley and the prisons where she was housed. She suffered from ongoing respiratory issues due to the Valley Fever, including COPD, and had multiple surgeries to remove portions of her infected lungs.
If the Board of Prison Hearings had recognized Sue’s accomplishments, and if the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation had provided necessary and adequate health care, Sue would be with us today.
Rest in Power,
Rest in Peace
Jane v. San Diego
Her Long Fight for Justice
California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) and the new LA Innocence Project came together for this exciting event celebrating the hard won victory for Jane Dorotik. Jane freed herself from a wrongful conviction in May 2022, and continues her lifelong work challenging all aspects of the criminal legal system.
View the recording of this event below.
Jane has been a longtime leader of CCWP inside prison and a member of our Coordinating Committee on the outside since she was released from prison in 2020. Jane’s boundless courage and determination to expose her wrongful conviction have been key in winning this struggle along with the persistent support of Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent. Jane has been a fierce advocate for all incarcerated people and we look forward to continuing our work together in this new phase of her life. Join us to celebrate and learn more about what this win means for future advocacy.
For questions about the event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.