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.

CCWP Calls for Immediate Public Health Investigation Into Preventable Heatstroke Death at CCWF Women’s Prison

On the early morning of July 6, a woman died from a fully preventable heat stroke at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla. Despite temperatures topping 113 in Chowchilla on Friday and Saturday and health officials around the state urging the utmost caution with heat related illness, CCWF staff have failed to implement even the most basic heat precautions. “It was heat exhaustion. She got into the shower to cool off and became incoherent, looking off and not responding when roommates were asking her if she was okay. She dropped to the ground and her legs started shaking and wouldn’t stop… I’m hearing she had heart failure at the hospital and passed Saturday July 6th at approximately 2 am,” said an incarcerated woman inside CCWF who wishes to remain anonymous to avoid retaliation. Even after this tragic, preventable death, California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) is hearing from people inside that they are still being locked into cells reaching a temperature of ninety-five degrees causing widespread headaches, vomiting and other dangerous physical symptoms. Access to cooling spaces as well as cooling items such as ice chips, ice water, electrolytes and cooling towels are simple steps that could be taken to alleviate the situation but officers are not following heat protocols. Almost a year ago the Modesto Bee exposed the severe heat related problems that were occurring at CCWF but nothing has changed.

“CCWP has been receiving alarming calls and emails from incarcerated people throughout the heat wave. “I need help please call up here… it’s 92 degrees in the hallway and 97 degrees inside of our rooms,” said Trancita Ponce, incarcerated at CCWF. “There is hot air blowing inside of our rooms, I have a huge migraine and I feel sick and other girls are throwing up. Not to mention somebody died two days ago from heat exhaustion. Please help us, they’re not doing anything for us.

CCWP is calling for a comprehensive Public Health investigation into the tragic death this past weekend and the immediate implementation of basic life saving heat protocols in all of California’s prisons, including continual access to ice and air conditioned spaces, no lock downs in overheated cells, regular check ups by medical personnel on medically vulnerable people at a minimum. “With increasingly deadly heat waves in California due to climate change, CDCR must not only follow its existing policies but develop and implement new policies that adequately protect the health and lives of incarcerated people,” said Kelly Savage-Rodriguez, a staff coordinator with CCWP who was incarcerated at CCWF for many years. “Staff negligence and preventable death is all too common in CDCR facilities. Amidst the growing threat of climate disaster, including fire and flooding, it is even more urgent that we bring our people home.” “This happens every single year. They need to take accountability. If they did what they said they would do, someone would not have died. This would have been prevented,” said Rosann Leite, incarcerated at CCWF.

The BOP must be held accountable for their egregious violations of incarcerated people’s basic human rights.  

The BOP must be held accountable for retaliating against people who spoke out by transferring them away from their children and family members.

The BOP must be held accountable for trying to hide from oversight and trying to isolate people from their community support. 

We call on President Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco to hold Director Colette Peters and BOP leadership accountable.

Read our full statement on why this vital and important petition matters …. 

To sign the petition click the button below or use the QR Code provided. 

Photo from press conference announcing filing of DPSC class action lawsuit, August 2023

Dublin Prison Solidarity Coalition Calls for Releases Not Transfers-

Condemns BOP Effort to Evade Accountability and Systemic Change!

On Monday, April 15, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced plans to abruptly close  FCI Dublin women’s prison in a surprise move designed to evade the jurisdiction of the Special Master Wendy Still. Judge Gonzalez Rogers appointed the Special Master–the first in BOP’s history–on April 5, 2024 to oversee the facility in light of rampant staff abuse, retaliation, and medical neglect. BOP officials began to load incarcerated people onto buses early in the morning on 4/15 before the Judge and Special Master were even aware of their plans. Chaos unfolded inside the facility, traumatizing incarcerated people who have already been subjected to immense harm by the BOP. As soon as she learned about what was happening, the Judge issued an order that people at Dublin needed to be evaluated for possible release and medically cleared before they could be transferred.  

RELEASE NOT TRANSFERS!

HOLD BOP ACCOUNTABLE!

The Sexual Abuse Response and Prevention working group has released a groundbreaking report outlining substantial measures needed to combat sexual abuse within California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The report is the result of interviews with over 700 incarcerated people and emphasizes the critical need for reform in how sexual assault and harassment cases are handled within the state’s carceral system, particularly within the two state prisons designated for women: the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) and the California Institution for Women (CIW).

This working group, consisting of community-based organizations – including Sister Warriors Freedom Coalition, the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Just Detention International, Justice First, Survived & Punished, and VALOR – and staff from CDCR, has spent months conducting research and compiling this report. The group’s investigation focused on protections for whistleblowers, access to trauma-informed support for survivors, and the handling of misconduct reports against staff members, making recommendations based on the root factors contributing to the ongoing sexual abuse within these facilities.

Key Recommendations:

1. Expedited Release for Survivors: Proposing a system to fast-track the release of individuals who have survived sexual abuse by CDCR staff, acknowledging that true safety lies outside of incarceration.

2. Cultural Transformation within CDCR: Recommending an overhaul of staff training on sexual harassment and misconduct, mental health screenings for staff, policy reviews by formerly incarcerated consultants, and promoting community-building efforts among incarcerated people.

 

3. Enhanced Services for Survivors: Advocating for improved collaboration with Rape Crisis Centers (RCCs), the provision of remote emotional support services, and increasing access and funding for on-site survivor support services.

4. Revamping the Investigation and Reporting Process: Proposing a more confidential, accessible, and independent system for reporting and investigating staff misconduct, to protect reporters from immediate retaliation and ensure appropriate institutional response to abuse.

5. Institutional Accountability: Calling for strengthened whistleblower protections, penalties for body-worn camera deactivation, and external oversight to ensure compliance with recommended changes.

The report stands firm on not increasing CDCR’s budget to implement these changes but rather suggests reallocating existing funds and reducing the prison population as part of a broader strategy to eliminate sexual abuse within the system.

2023 Year End Review

 

In 2023, CCWP members dreamed boldly about abolishing women’s prisons, and we worked hard to make our dreams of prison abolition real, here in California and around the globe.

Check out our Together We Rise, Together We Heal page, or read the full digital report for a closer look at our amazing accomplishments in 2023. 

 

All of our work is made possible by your donations, monetary and volunteering. Please consider donating to help further our work. 

Update on Dublin Women’s Facility

Press Release

Federal Judge Orders Appointment of Special Master to Oversee FCI Dublin, Prison where Sexual Assault Against Incarcerated People Runs Rampant. [Content warning: this press release mentions SA, r*pe]

See the March 15, 2024 Press Release. 

On Jan. 5, currently incarcerated women testified in federal court before US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers that they have difficulty accessing medical and mental health care and face retaliation if they report staff misconduct.

Read More From KQED Here

Press Release

CCWP is a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

See the August 16, 2023 Press Release.  

New Report: Maximizing Time, Maximizing Punishment

The Lived Experience of Long-Term Sentences in California Women’s Prisons

The University of California Sentencing Project (UCSP), in collaboration with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) and the UCLA Center for the Study of Women|Streisand Center, is proud to announce the release of its groundbreaking report: “Maximizing Time, Maximizing Punishment: The Lived Experience of Long-Term Sentences in California Women’s Prisons.”

 

 

 

Share the new report widely using the toolkit!

Toolkit: bit.ly/FromCrisis2Care

Fact Sheet

📢⏰ 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