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.

The fight for reproductive justice has to be waged in the streets and behind bars!

The overturning of Roe v. Wade has exposed the frightening power of the state to deny women and trans and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people control over their own reproductive capacity and autonomy.  In CCWP we know that the state’s power over people’s bodies is even more total and destructive inside prisons and jails. As formerly incarcerated CCWP leader Aminah Elster points out, mass incarceration itself is a form of racist reproductive control because it removes tens of thousands of Black and Brown women and other people of color from their communities during their reproductive years.”

CCWP has fought for reproductive justice for people in women’s prisons throughout our twenty-seven year history. From the successful effort to end the shackling of incarcerated pregnant people during labor and delivery in 2005, to our persistent advocacy for basic gynecological care, we have worked with people inside women’s prisons to change abusive reproductive practices. We have supported freedom for women who have been criminalized and incarcerated for stillbirths and miscarriages. Most recently we are proud to have been part of a historic effort that won reparations compensation for survivors of traumatic forced sterilizations which have occurred within California’s women’s prisons.

In July 2021, in response to years of advocacy, California allocated $7.5 million to two groups of survivors of forced sterilizations: women and TGNC people sterilized prior to 1979 in state-run institutions under California’s eugenics laws (which were repealed in 1979), and people coercively sterilized inside women’s prisons since 1979, who are majority Black and Latinx. While reparations can never compensate for the state’s irreversible harm upon sterilized survivors, it is a step towards recognizing and preventing such harm in the future. CCWP is now working in coalition with other advocates to ensure this hard-won victory is fully realized and that survivors are compensated in spite of many government-driven obstacles to implementing the reparations process. As CCWP Outreach Advocate Chyrl Lamar explains, Not only are survivors having a difficult time accessing their own medical records from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), but in many cases hospitals do not keep records for more than 10 years. It’s the kind of hurdle that can make gaining a small kind of justice for a traumatic event even more cumbersome.”

The overturning of Roe disproportionately impacts Black, Brown, poor and working class communities. Tens of thousands may face criminal charges for seeking an abortion, having a miscarriage or stillbirth, or assisting a patient or loved one in seeking necessary healthcare. In this new era, CCWP is determined to ramp up our reproductive justice work in a variety of ways.  Issue #67 of The Fire Inside newsletter is focused on reproductive justice inside prison.  We are planning to work with incarcerated people to develop a Know Your Reproductive Rights in Prison brochure that can educate and empower them to resist abusive practices. CCWP will also be amplifying our participatory defense work and our advocacy for changes to laws that criminalize abortion and reproductive health care.

The fight for reproductive justice has to be waged in the streets and behind bars! 

Please donate generously now to join us in this collective commitment.