In the United States, the global leader in incarcerating people, the rate at which we imprison women has surpassed that of men. Studies tell us that as many as 86% of our incarcerated women have suffered physical or sexual abuse. These chilling statistics show a system that both disregards the role of trauma in women’s lives and actively thwarts healing – a system that further destabilizes over-policed communities by incarcerating their women. All in a country where the vast majority of programs inside prisons and those supporting effective re-entry are geared toward men.
For these reasons and more, CJI elevates organizing done by and for directly impacted women. The outstanding women-led, women-centered organizations below are on the front lines in every corner of our movement. They have forged successful campaigns to close prisons and re-invest in community wellness. They transform the plea-bargaining culture of our courts through participatory defense programs that engage families in preparing legal defenses for their loved ones and provide alternatives to incarceration for girls charged with serious offenses. And, state by state, they end the most brutal mistreatment of our currently incarcerated sisters.
Take a look at a few of CJI’s amazing grantees:
Families for Justice as Healing, in Boston, organizes formerly incarcerated women in their campaign, “#ReimaginingCommunities.” They have been leaders in participatory defense, holding weekly meetings to support and strategize with families fighting criminal legal battles. They also organize to pass the, “Massachusetts Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act,” which is federal legislation that would provide trauma-informed care to women in prison, make it easier for them to keep in touch with their families, and offer re-entry support designed to meet their needs.
SOUL Sisters Leadership Collective runs a groundbreaking restorative justice diversion program in Miami, where girls who have been arrested on high level misdemeanor or felony charges are referred to S.O.U.L. Sisters in lieu of incarceration or, significantly, probation. Once S.O.U.L. Sisters accepts a girl into their program, their process of support and accountability takes place entirely in community, among those directly impacted by the harm, and without further input from the courts.
And, in Oakland, the National Network of Women in Prison maintains their fierce commitment to abolishing the dehumanizing practice of shackling pregnant women and girls who are incarcerated. Having won their fight in states across the country, the network now partners formerly incarcerated women from states that have built successful campaigns with those in states that are still working to eliminate shackling. Through this process, they create new alliances and powerful advocacy agendas to end the shackling of pregnant women nationwide.
Last year, Women on the Rise GA helped win legislation to close and re-purpose the Atlanta City Detention Center, giving rise to their slogan, “When We Fight, We Win!” The fight now moves to the next stage, as their coalition works to re-purpose the facility into a Center for Wellness & Freedom and to reallocate the $32.5 million budget back into their community.
With your support we can do even more!
100% of your donation will go directly to more than 50 grassroots organizations doing powerful, innovative and impactful work like those mentioned above. You can also support our Change Makers Campaign by sharing our donate page, following us on Instagram, liking our Facebook page, and encouraging your friends and family members to tune in to our social media channels.
Our lives and freedom depend on our collective efforts to generate lasting change. Your support means the world to CJI and to the Movement!