Women in Prison Project
About the Women in Prison Project
Created in 1991, the CA’s Women in Prison Project (WIPP) works to reduce the use of incarceration for women, ensure that prison conditions for women are as humane and just as possible, and create a criminal justice system that treats women and all people with fairness, dignity and justice.
WIPP’s work is guided by the principle that individuals directly affected by prison policies should be active participants and leaders in reform efforts. To this end, WIPP runs ReConnect, a leadership training program for formerly incarcerated women recently home from prison or jail, and offers a wide range of opportunities for program graduates and other formerly incarcerated women to become involved in the Project’s activities.
WIPP also coordinates the Coalition for Women Prisoners, a statewide alliance of formerly incarcerated women and other advocates working to make the criminal justice system more responsive to the rights and needs of women and their families. In partnership with the Coalition, WIPP carries out a strategic program to advocate for key policy and legislative reforms. WIPP’s main policy campaigns center on advancing reproductive justice for incarcerated women and transforming the criminal justice system’s response to domestic violence survivors who act to protect themselves.
Utilizing the CA’s unique legislative mandate to monitor prisons, WIPP conducts visits to and reports on conditions in New York State correctional facilities that house women. In addition to reporting on prison conditions, WIPP produces in-depth policy reports and a broad range of other advocacy materials, including fact sheets, briefing papers, and videos to support its policy agenda. WIPP also engages in community organizing, conducts public education and works with the media to raise awareness about critical issues facing incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women.
Explore our issue areas:
- Women and the criminal justice system
- Survivors of abuse and incarceration
- Families and incarceration
- HIV and healthcare in prison
In 2015, CA Executive Director Soffiyah Elijah organized three trips to Cuba, providing travelers an opportunity to observe up close how Cuba's criminal justice system operates in comparison -- and contrast -- to the way that the United States' system prosecutes and incarcerates people. In a recent 2016 issue of Guernica magazine, writer Hyatt Bass, who was a part of one of the CA delegations to Cuba, interviewed Elijah about the distinctions between the two countries when it comes to the concept of punishment.Read More
For incarcerated women in the U.S., the experience of a monthly period can be stressful and demeaning. While jails often supply menstrual products, such as pads and tampons, they are typically poor quality and doled out in limited numbers. If a woman needs more than what’s been allocated for her, she might be able to buy products from [...]Read More
Under unique statutory authority granted to the CA in 1846, WIPP monitors conditions in women’s prisons in New York, a role played by no other group in the country. WIPP coordinates the Coalition for Women Prisoners, a statewide alliance of more than 1,800 people, and carries out advocacy campaigns to reform harmful criminal justice policies. [...]Read More
Watch the Correctional Association’s video about the barbaric – and illegal – shackling of incarcerated women during childbirth. In 2009 New York enacted a statute restricting the use of shackles on women during childbirth. The law bans outright the use of restraints on women throughout labor, delivery and recovery “after giving birth,” which is meant [...]Read More