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
N.C. Prisons End Shackling of Women During Childbirth, A ‘Barbaric’ Practice 32 Other States Still Allow
“People’s human rights do not end when they enter the walls of a prison.” Ending a practice described by medical experts as “barbaric,” the director of North Carolina’s state prisons said Wednesday that women who give birth while they are incarcerated will no longer be restrained or shackled during labor. Women’s rights advocates applauded the decision, but expressed anger and dismay that North Carolina is now one of just 18 states that specifically bars prison employees from shackling female inmates during childbirth.Read More
Reports & Research
“Solitary at Southport: A 2017 Report Based Upon the Correctional Association’s Visits, Data Analysis, & First-Hand Accounts of the Torture of Solitary Confinement from One of New York’s Supermax Prisons”
“The isolation itself is torture. Mentally and emotionally, it breaks you down. Spiritually it strips you. The way it is built is to break you down as a person and push your family away.” From “Solitary at Southport” Solitary confinement is torture. New York State subjects people to solitary confinement and other forms of isolation at rates above the national average and in a racially disparate manner.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