Dear CCWP Community,
2018 has been a year of important victories and significant growth for CCWP. We are especially thrilled that our DROP LWOP campaign has contributed to an unprecedented number of commutations for people with LWOP (Life Without Parole) sentences by Governor Brown. So far, 17 people in women’s prisons and 55 people in men’s prisons received commutations dropping their LWOP sentences!! Governor Brown has commuted an additional 80 people from life or long-term sentences. Several women formerly sentenced to LWOP who we work closely with have now been released after their successful Parole Board hearings. They now add their powerful leadership, commitment and experience to work outside prison.
We have been able to build the campaign with the critical leadership of many formerly incarcerated people, family members, advocates and organizations. Most crucially we have progressed with the full participation of people in the women’s prisons in all aspects of the campaign. See The Fire Inside #58 for more details.
We Will Continue to Expand DROP LWOP in 2019 With Your Help!
Some of our plans for DROP LWOP in 2019 include:
- Reaching out to Governor-elect Newsom to urge him to commute the sentences of all 5,200+ people currently serving LWOP in California, and ultimately to eliminate LWOP from the California Penal code.
- Planning a statewide strategy session about the elimination of LWOP sentencing with representatives from organizations doing similar work in other states.
- Hiring a dedicated staff person to anchor the campaign.
More Highlights of Our Work in 2018
- Co-sponsorship and advocacy for important legislation signed into law including SB 1437, BESTT Practices Act, which changes CA’s felony murder law and will bring sentencing relief for a significant population of people in women’s prisons; AB 2533, Dignity and Care Act, improving access to basic needs for prisoners in poverty; SB 1393, Fair & Just Sentencing Reform Act, to end the mandatory application of the 5-year sentence enhancement for serious priors; SB 960, Annual Reporting on Suicides, requiring CDCR reporting on suicides and suicide attempts and improving suicide prevention practices; AB 2845, Pardon & Commutation Reform Act, increasing transparency and accessibility in the pardon and commutation process.
- Building the #MeToo Behind Bars lawsuit and campaign which challenges a pattern of brutal physical and sexual assault against trans, gender non-conforming and queer people in the women’s prisons.
- Growing a strong, vital chapter in Los Angeles which includes a formerly incarcerated CCWP program fellow, expanded prison visiting teams to CIW, and monthly prison correspondence gatherings. The L.A. chapter held a very successful Benefit Art Auction in August, a major energizer for CCWP’s grassroots fundraising efforts.
- Participation in a number of major national conferences, including the FreeHer conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sept. 2018; the FICPFM conference in Orlando, Florida, Sept. 2018; and the National Women’s Studies Association conference, Atlanta, Georgia, Nov. 2018.
- Moving our office to the new Freedom and Movement Center building in Oakland, purchased by Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, home to LSPC, All of Us or None, CCWP and more.
All of this crucial work requires resources
- Salaries for our expanding staff and fellows.
- Expenses for prison visits including car rentals, gas and food for the people we visit.
- Stipends for the formerly incarcerated members of our Spitfire Speakers’ Bureau.
- Printing and mailing costs for The Fire Inside newsletter.
Please accept our invitation to be part of this work in 2019 by becoming a monthly sustainer. If this isn’t possible, please make a generous year-end donation now. Please also consider planning a legacy gift for the future through a bequest, a living trust or a beneficiary designation.
All donations of $100 or more will receive a packet of hand-crafted cards, created by former political prisoner Linda Evans, as a thank you for your generous support.
Please help us build on our successes of 2019 which have moved forward our core commitment to decarceration and advanced the building of community across prison walls based on justice and love.