Coalition for Women Prisoners

About the Coalition for Women Prisoners

Coordinated by the Women in Prison Project, the Coalition for Women Prisoners is a statewide alliance of over 1,700 individuals and 100 organizations dedicated to making the criminal justice system more responsive to the needs and rights of women and their families. The Coalition’s overarching goals are to:

  • stop New York from using incarceration as a response to the social and economic problems that drive crime;
  • change criminal justice policy so that it recognizes women’s rights and addresses their specific needs;
  • advocate for policies that strengthen family and community ties both during women’s incarceration and after release;
  • educate the public, press and policymakers about the impact of incarceration on women and families;
  • improve the conditions inside women’s prisons in New York State and remove barriers to successful re-entry; and,
  • create a space where formerly incarcerated women can play a leading role in advocating for change.

Certain fundamental beliefs guide the Coalition’s work:

  • a society that truly values healthy, safe, and productive individuals, families and communities must prioritize the use of rehabilitative, community-based alternative-to-incarceration programs over imprisonment;
  • the issues facing women at all points along the criminal justice continuum often differ from those faced by men, and therefore must be identified and treated differently;
  • formerly incarcerated women should be in the forefront of the movement to challenge the criminal justice policies that directly affect their lives and their voices should be included in the larger debate about social justice.

The criminal justice system has a strong tendency to define women in prison solely by their crimes, ignoring the various set of circumstances that affect their lives and actions. Ending the systemic injustices facing currently and formerly incarcerated women is only half of the Coalition’s mission—the other half is removing the stigma assigned to incarcerated women and replacing it with recognition of an individual’s potential to take responsibility for her actions, to change, and to become a productive member of society.

For more information or to get involved, please contact  Anisah Sabur, Women in Prison Project Associate, at 212-254-5700,