We want to share with you some of our accomplishments of 2008 and provide and overall report of the year.
· One thing CCWP was highly involved in was campaign work. After hearing various accounts from members inside about the effects of overcrowding on mental health, CCWP headed a yearlong campaign regarding mental health inside women?s prisons. This campaign came about just after the formulary (list of available medications) was suddenly changed. Many people were abruptly taken off psychiatric and other medications and some of the effects of this abrupt decision were disastrous.
At the Critical Resistance conference (CR10) in Oakland, CCWP held a workshop, which was attended by over 50 people, called ?Caged Mental Health: Strategies for Resistance in Women?s Prisons.? The workshop focused on educating people on how imprisonment affects mental health. We had an amazing panel of former women prisoners and loved ones of prisoners who spoke to how incarceration affected their mental health.
An issue of The Fire Inside was dedicated to the impact imprisonment has on mental health and how people cope with and resist these impacts. In January, CCWP produced and hosted a radio show focused on mental health in women?s prisons.
· We also did a lot of campaign work around Props 6 and 9. We recognize that many people would be impacted by Prop. 9.
Our efforts included creating literature, pins, shirts, a website, and raising awareness about these propositions. We also organized an education event for Political Education in San Francisco to get people aware and involved in the No on Props 6 and 9 efforts. CCWP produced two radio shows about the propositions. We attended a symposium at San Quentin State Prison about Prop. 9 organized by prisoners in the Prison University Project and brought in No on 9 flyers for people to copy and send to loved ones outside. We rejoice that Prop. 6 was defeated! Prop. 9 unfortunately passed and we continue to work hard supporting legal challenges to Prop. 9 (see pp. 2-3 and 5).
· CCWP held 25 legal visits and saw over 100 CCWP members in Central California Women?s Facility, Valley State Prison for Women, and California Institution for Women. These visits keep the connections between people inside and out strong, allow us to provide resources and support for prisoners? advocacy efforts, and guide our organizing work based on what member?s inside report as priorities.
· CCWP started the San Francisco Jail Project, which holds bi-monthly meetings of approximately 25 women and transgender prisoners in the SF jail. These visits create a space for the group to talk about issues such as violence against women, jail conditions, the Prison Industrial Complex, and their plans once they are released from the jail. We plan to stay in touch with SF Jail Project participants once they are released to include them in our CCWP community.
· Aside from visits, CCWP answered over 300 prisoner letters in 2008 alone. These letters responded to many requests for resources and information from loved ones and family members of prisoners.
· As part of our outreach, CCWP participated in the Without Walls Radio Show, which is broadcast on the last Friday of every month at 4pm on KPFA 94.1 in the East Bay and San Francisco and KFCF in the Fresno area including Chowchilla. Without Walls broadcasts news and stories on the effects of the Prison Industrial Complex. The show is collectively produced by CCWP, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, All of Us or None, Free Battered Women, and the Center for Young Women?s Development.
· We happily hired three new staff people; Nia Sykes as Outreach Coordinator, Diane Hafsah Al-Amin as Program Coordinator, and Xiomara Campos Cisne as Coordinator of the Compañeras program. Hiring new people has allowed us to expand our public education, recruit new volunteers, improve our fundraising process, and add to overall effectiveness in our existing program work.