About the HerStory Oregon Survey

In the winter of 2017 and the spring of 2018, the Oregon Justice Resource Center’s Women’s Justice Project and Portland State University’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice surveyed more than 140 incarcerated women about their experiences through the criminal process – from arrest to sentencing, from intake in Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF) to their thoughts about their future release from prison. The survey was possible because of the cooperation of CCCF and the courage of many of the women incarcerated there. The HerStory Oregon Survey was a two-part written survey.

Criminal systems were not designed with women in mind and there is often little to no consideration by decision makers and stakeholders of how women experience the system. The purpose of the HerStory Oregon Survey was to hear directly from women and identify problematic trends in their treatment in Oregon’s criminal system. The intent is to use this information to highlight for stakeholders, decision makers, and the community needs for a fairer and more just criminal system.

participation in the survey

To our knowledge, this is the first survey of its kind conducted in Oregon. As such, despite interest from many women in CCCF in participating and the full support of CCCF administration and staff, we encountered logistical barriers and were unable to survey as many women as hoped. 142 women participated in part one of the survey and 66 women in part two. As of February 2019, there were 1221 women incarcerated at CCCF. Demographic information about participants can be found here.

We recognize that the number of women who participated in the survey is not a large enough sample size for results to be statistically significant. We are working with CCCF to conduct this survey again, learning from our first experiences, to gather results from a larger sample. However, the number of participants is sizable enough and the trends strong enough, that we feel it is important to share our results at this time, to not delay highlighting the needs of women in Oregon’s criminal system, and to lift up the brave voices of the many women who participated.

Results of the survey

The results from the survey will be shared through a series of reports. The goals of the reports are to recognize, briefly describe, and provide initial resources and recommendations regarding issues in the criminal system of concern as revealed by the survey results.

Introduction (October 2018)
Intimate Partner Violence and Trauma (February 2019)
Mental Health, Physical Health and Substance Use (September 2019)