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.
Town Hall Demands Justice for FCI Dublin Survivors
• Hear from survivors of FCI Dublin
• Learn about upcoming litigation
• Inform congressional office members
• Mobilize to support demands for change
Federal investigations, congressional inquiries, and national media reporting have revealed that numerous FCI Dublin employees—including the ex-Warden, the prison chaplain, and correctional officers—have subjected dozens of incarcerated people to egregious sexual abuse, including harassment, assault, and rape, over a number of years. There have been a handful of prosecutions of individual actors involved in this abusive conduct, but there haven’t been any meaningful efforts to remedy the systemic causes that led to these terrible abuses. At the same time, many survivors have been retaliated against, transferred to ICE detention facilities around the country, and deported. The Dublin Prison Solidarity Coalition is calling on supporters to help mobilize for systemic change!
The Dublin Prison Solidarity Coalition includes: California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP), Centro Legal de la Raza, Rights Behind Bars (RBB), ACLU Northern California, Dolores Street Community Services, California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice and Survivors of FCI Dublin Abuse. Read their most recent statement here.
📢⏰ The time for change is NOW! ⏰📢
Read & share the public health research on the ways that women’s prison s harm health and the investments California could be making instead. 📲 humanimpact.org/HealthNotWomensPrisons
🗣This new report, “From Crisis to Care: Ending the Health Harm of Women’s Prisons,” documents the many ways that incarceration in women’s prisons harms the health of cisgender women and transgender, gender-variant, and intersex people and recommends health-promoting community supports we could be investing in instead.
California has already taken significant steps towards reducing its carceral footprint by decreasing its women’s prison population by 70.8% through state policy changes. 💥 Folsom State Prison women’s units have already been emptied, and the facility is set to close down in 2023.
But we MUST do more! California has a chance to lead the nation in ending the harm caused by incarceration. We can close the two remaining women’s prisons, release the small fraction of the state’s incarcerated population who are housed there, and invest the MILLIONS budgeted for these prisons into community-based programs that promote health and prevent incarceration. By doing this, we can provide essential support services for successful reentry into society. 💖
It’s time to shift – #FromCrisis2Care!
#HealthNotPunishment #CareNotCages #CloseCAPrisons
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.
We are ready to double-down on our efforts, and we need your help.
Make a one-time donation, become a monthly sustainer, or contact us for information regarding legacy giving.
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.