Women in Prison Conference 2019

Justice for Survivor-Defendants: Looking toward reforms

Keynote speaker: representative Tawna sanchez

Saturday, November 16 - Sunday, November 17

1219 SW Park Ave., Portland, OR 97205


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

Our focus this year is on justice for defendants who are survivors of domestic violence - what reforms will better recognize and more fully consider the effects of abuse and lead to fairer outcomes for survivor-defendants? How can the criminal system better respond to the needs of survivor-defendants, their families and the community?

Sign up to our conference mailing list below to receive updates on the conference.

We will be applying for CLE credits for Oregon attorneys. 11 credits pending.

Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Please contact our Associate Director Amie Wexler at awexler@ojrc.info.

Questions about the conference? Please contact Julia Yoshimoto at jyoshimoto@ojrc.info.


This event has now sold out. To be added to our wait list, please contact Nash Casey at ncasey@ojrc.info.

Thanks to our hosts, the Portland Art Museum, all attendees will be able to visit the museum for free on a date of their choosing, including a visit to the exhibition Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal....

Transportation and Parking

By BUS, the closest frequent lines are the 6, 9, 14, and 15. Many other lines pass within walking distance of the Museum. For more detailed route information, go to www.trimet.org.

By MAX light rail, take the Green or Yellow line and exit at the SW 6th & Madison stop (for northbound journeys) or the City Hall/SW 5th & Jefferson stop (for southbound journeys.)

By Portland STREETCAR, take the A Loop or NS Line and exit at the Art Museum stop. For more detailed route information, go to www.portlandstreetcar.org

By CAR, there is no parking at the Portland Art Museum. However, there are numerous lots within walking distance of the Museum, including a SmartPark garage at SW 10th Ave. and Yamhill St. Parking at a SmartPark garage is $5/day on Saturdays and Sundays. For other SmartPark locations. Street parking is available at $2 per hour. Street parkers must feed the meter every two hours.

Taking Care of Yourself

We're aware that the issues raised by this conference can be challenging. Whether you're a family member of an incarcerated person, formerly incarcerated, a survivor of domestic violence, or simply sensitive to the topics we discuss, we want to help ensure this is not a (re)traumatizing experience. To that end, we encourage you to review this useful handout from the Center for Trauma Support Services and Partnership for Safety and Justice that has ideas about how to feel calmer in the moment.

Conference Schedule

Saturday, November 16 - Laying the foundation

7:45–8:15 am Check-in & breakfast 

8:15–8:30 am Welcome & opening remarks 

8:30–9:00 am Keynote: State Representative Tawna Sanchez

9:10–10:10 am Update on statistics of women in Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF)

  • Mike Schmidt, Executive Director, Oregon Criminal Justice Commission 

10:20–11:00 am HerStory Oregon Survey in CCCF – Results 

  • Julia Yoshimoto, Women’s Justice Project Director, OJRC

11:10 am–12:15 pm Women incarcerated in CCCF tell their stories
We are grateful to the Oregon Department of Corrections and Coffee Creek Correctional Facility for their assistance.

12:15–1:00 pm Lunch 

1:00–2:15 pm Women arrested for domestic violence perpetration: Differentiating between primary and secondary aggressors 

  • Dr. Chris Huffine, Executive Director, Allies in Change 

  • Susan Reyes-Torres, group facilitator/counselor, Allies in Change 

2:25–3:55 pm Representing criminal defendants and considering trauma responses 

  • Kasia Rutledge, criminal defense attorney, Kasia Rutledge Law

  • Dr. Sarina Saturn, Associate Professor, University of Portland 

4:00–4:30 pm Discussion: Different forms of reforms 

  • Bobbin Singh, Executive Director, OJRC

Sunday, November 17 - Reform discussions

8:00–8:30 am Check-in & breakfast 

8:30–9:00 am Opening remarks and stories from survivor-defendants

  • Zuleyma Figueroa

  • Melissa Vitellaro

9:00–10:00 am Reforms: Pre-trial/conviction 

  • Jayne Downing, Executive Director, Center for Hope & Safety 

  • Sara Foroshani, Deputy Public Defender, Public Defender of Marion County, Inc. 

10:05–11:20 am Reforms: Sentencing 

  • Eric Deitrick, General Counsel, Office of Public Defense Services

  • Julia Yoshimoto, Women’s Justice Project Director, OJRC 

11:30 am–12:30 pm Reforms: Parole and Post-Prison Supervision 

  • Michael Hsu, Chairperson, Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision

  • Patty Cress, Board Member, Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision

  • John Bailey, Board Member, Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision

  • Katie Roller, Criminal Justice Manager, Department of Community Justice, Multnomah County

12:30–1:15 pm Lunch 

1:15–2:00 pm Reforms: Clemency 

  • Dustin Buehler, Deputy General Counsel, Office of Governor Kate Brown

  • Emily Matasar, Government Accountability Attorney, Office of Governor Kate Brown

2:05–3:00 pm Open discussion & Q&A with audience, & closing remarks 

  • Moderated by

    • Julia Yoshimoto, Women’s Justice Project Director, OJRC

    • Bobbin Singh, Executive Director, OJRC


Thank you to our Sponsors


2018 Conference: Breaking the Silence: Women and Measure 11

The 2018 Women in Prison Conference took place on Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14 in Portland at the University of Oregon White Stag Block. The conference focused on women defendants and Measure 11, Oregon’s mandatory minimum sentencing law for “person crimes.” The topic was chosen in recognition of the importance of including all women in prison in the conversation about reform, in contrast to the common tendency to focus on people who are sometimes referred to as “non-violent offenders.” If we don’t pay attention to the stories of women convicted of violent crimes, we are choosing to ignore grave injustices and denying the possibility of substantial and power-altering criminal justice reform.

Read the 2018 conference report.