women's Justice project
The Women’s Justice Project (formerly known as the Women in Prison Project) is the first and only program in Oregon to exclusively address issues related to women intersecting with the criminal justice system.
Over the past twenty years, the incarceration rate of women in Oregon has tripled, while the arrest rate for women has decreased 36-40% during that time. Despite these troubling statistics and the known detrimental impact that incarcerating women has on our communities, justice-involved women have largely been left out of conversations around criminal justice reform and ending mass incarceration. The Women's Justice Project was created to address this missing perspective.
Our goals are to ensure that the criminal justice system treats women fairly, protects their health and safety, and makes it possible for them to successfully rejoin their communities when they are released. We do this through focused direct legal services, strategic partnerships, public awareness campaigns, and coordinating our legal and advocacy areas to positively impact outcomes in favor of gender-responsive criminal justice reforms.
We partner with Red Lodge Transition Services to provide individual legal assistance to women incarcerated in Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon, and to formerly incarcerated women. We help clients identify legal issues that might become or already are barriers to successful reentry into the community, and work with them to resolve issues or plan around legal roadblocks.
We encourage broader conversations about criminal justice and the health of our communities that include justice-involved women. Each year, we host the Women in Prison Conference, which highlights and discusses pressing issues of women in Oregon’s criminal justice system. We recently launched HerStory Oregon, which collects and shares the personal stories of justice-involved women to raise up their voices and to show us where gender-responsive improvements in the system are needed.
Our clients’ experiences, HerStory Oregon, and conversations with community partners inform us about issues affecting women in Oregon’s criminal justice system. We track these issues and identify opportunities to advocate for changes in practice, policy and law.
project director and attorney
Julia Yoshimoto, MSW, JD
REPORT: Women in Prison Conference 2018: Women and Measure 11. This report describes the presentations given at our annual conference on justice-involved women, the Women in Prison Conference, in 2018.
HERSTORY OREGON SURVEY PART 1 INFORMATIONAL
REPORT: "Unlocking Measure 57" (February 2017) This report walks through the history of sentencing laws as it relates to the repeat property offender laws and Measure 57, which created a mandatory minimum sentencing scheme for repeat property offenses. For legislators and policy makers who are serious about leveling off or even reversing the increasing rates of women incarcerated in Oregon, the solution is clear. Lawmakers must act to repeal Measure 57 and directly tackle mandatory minimum sentencing of repeat property offenders, which, as we have seen, is overly broad and overly punitive. Repealing Measure 57 is the surest and swiftest way to make a significant impact on the ever-growing number of women.
REPORT: "An Alternative to Women's Prison Expansion in Oregon" (September 2016) In response to the overcrowding at Oregon's only women's prison and the legislature's discussions to release emergency funds to open a second women's prison, this report suggests immediate solutions to reduce the number of women incarcerated in prison in Oregon.
REPORT: "Women in Prison in Oregon" (September 2016) This report compiles publicly available information about Oregon's women in prison into one resource.
2018 WOMEN IN PRISON CONFERENCE KEYNOTE ADDRESS: NAVIGATING AND TRANSCENDING THE GRAVITATIONAL PULL OF PRIVILEGE AND STRUCTURAL BIAS TO WORK FOR JUSTICE INSIDE THE LEGAL SYSTEM, by The Honorable Darleen Ortega