Women in Prison Conference

Our Women in Prison Conference takes place each year in Portland. It presents issues of justice-involved women in Oregon, provides attendees with a deeper understanding of legal aspects of the criminal justice system, and enriches the collective knowledge base for future reforms for a more gender-responsive criminal justice system. This event has consistently sold out over the years. Our attendees are social service providers, lawyers, formerly incarcerated individuals, state and local decision-makers, and community members.

2017 conference: Breaking the Silence: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND JUSTICE-INVOLVED WOMEN

The 2017 Women in Prison Conference took place October 21 and 22 at the White Stag Block in downtown Portland courtesy of our hosts, the University of Oregon School of Law. Thank you to all those who attended and supported this event. Sign up below to receive information about the next conference in 2018.

We know that a significant number of women in our prison, jails, and under supervision have been victims of domestic violence and that those experiences contributed to their criminal activity. At our 2017 conference, we focused on further exploring issues of women criminal defendants in this context. Some of the questions we discussed: What is domestic violence? How does domestic violence contribute to women victims becoming criminal defendants? How is domestic violence accounted for in a woman's criminal defense and in her sentence? What are some ideas for reforms to create a more just system for victims of domestic violence who become justice-involved?

2017 Conference Schedule


8:00 - 8:45
Networking Breakfast

8:45 - 9:00
Opening remarks

9:00 - 10:30
When help becomes harm: The perils of 911 for survivors of color and queer and trans survivors

  • Amy Davidson, Crime Survivor Program Director, Partnership for Safety and Justice
  • Steph Ng Ping Cheung, LGBTQ Program Coordinator, Bradley Angle
  • Representative Carla Piluso
  • Brigitte Rodriguez, El Programa Hispano Católico - Project UNICA

10:40 - 11:50
Women arrested for domestic violence perpetration: Differentiating between primary and secondary aggressors

  • Teresa Conlan, Counselor, Allies in Change
  • Dr. Chris Huffine, Executive Director, Allies in Change

11:50 - 1:15
Lunch and film screening: The story of Robyn Drown, justice through film

1:15 - 2:30
Native American women, domestic violence, and the criminal justice system

  • Dr. Carma Corcoran, Chippewa-Cree, Lewis & Clark Law School - Indian Law Program
  • Trish Jordan, Creek, Executive Director, Red Lodge Transition Services
  • Representative Tawna Sanchez, Shoshone-Bannock/Ute, Director of Family Services, Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA)

2:45 - 4:15
The path to reform

  • Professor Caroline Forell, University of Oregon School of Law
  • Representative Carla Piluso
  • Representative Tawna Sanchez, Shoshone-Bannock/Ute, Director of Family Services, Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA)
  • Vanessa Timmons, Executive Director, Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

4:15 - 4:30
Closing remarks


7:45 - 8:30
Breakfast and Check In

8:30 - 8:45

8:45 - 9:15
Keynote: Vanessa Timmons, Executive Director, Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

9:20 - 10:00
Who are Oregon's women in prison? A summary of the data

  • Mike Schmidt, Executive Director, Oregon Criminal Justice Commission

10:10 - 11:10
Understanding domestic violence and its impact

  • Robin Davis, organizer with Black Lives Matter PDX
  • Steph Ng Ping Cheung, LGBTQ Program Coordinator, Bradley Angle

11:20 - 12:30
Women currently incarcerated at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility join us to share their stories

Thanks to the Oregon Department of Corrections for their assistance.

12:30 - 1:40
Lunch and presentation on self-care

  • Dr. Sarina Saturn, University of Portland

We recognize that the topics we discuss at the conference and some of the stories participants share can be emotionally draining or bring up upsetting memories for attendees. To help with this, during the lunch break, we will have a presentation on self-care.

1:40 - 2:50
Defending the victim: criminal defenses for women who are also affected by domestic violence

  • Eric Deitrick, Attorney, Office of Public Defense Services
  • Kasia Rutledge, Criminal Defense Attorney

3:00 - 4:10
Perspectives from a day in the life of a district attorney and a public defender

  • Jeff Auxier, District Attorney, Columbia County, Oregon
  • DeAnna Horne, Attorney, Metropolitan Public Defender Services

4:20 - 5:30
How girls are affected by domestic violence, and how it can lead to their involvement in the justice system

  • Paula McDade, Founder/Project Director, Not on My Watch Women's Initiative
  • Lori McGovern, Counselor, Young Women’s Transition Program, Oregon Youth Authority
  • Jessica Tibbets

5:30 - 6:30 Networking reception


learn more about the speakers


Many thanks to our sponsor and host, the University of Oregon School of Law.