First State-wide Strategy Session on Working with Women Prisoners

by Urszula Wislanka
Oakland, Ca.–About a dozen different organizations working with or on behalf of women prisoners got together on Oct. 18 to hold the first state-wide strategy session on our work. The organizations represented included California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Justice NOW, Critical Resistance, California Prison Focus, Stop Prison Rape and others. Many former prisoners and some family members of prisoners were there. People came from San Diego, LA, Bay Area, and from Eureka. It was a truly state-wide event.
Part of the day was spent on introductions and presenting the work of different groups. While we all work with or for women prisoners, the diversity was impressive: some offer direct legal help, some do community organizing, some offer a variety of services, including training and outreach.
The event created a much needed space for discussion. We talked about how our work fits into the larger “landscape” of activism. We talked about the barriers preventing the participation of others, especially former prisoners who face discrimination, disenfranchisement and marginalization. The day went by very fast and we hope will lead to better cooperation on actions in the future, such as the December 10th demonstration scheduled to advocate brining prisoners home on the Human Rights Day (see the announcement below).