Feminist Anti-Carceral Policy & Research Initiative

According to the ACLU, nearly 60% of people in women’s prison nationwide, and as many as 94% of some women’s prison populations, have a history of physical or sexual abuse before being incarcerated. For many survivors, their experience of domestic violence, rape, and other forms of gender violence are bound up with systems of incarceration and police violence. In response, local and national organizations launched the Survived and Punished project in 2015 which illuminates the “gender violence to prison pipeline,” providing a structural analysis for and political challenge to the criminalization of survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

The Feminist Anti-Carceral Policy & Research Initiative (FACPRI) will build on this surge of organizing in two ways. First FACPRI will collaborate with Survived and Punished as they develop a policy strategy to create sustained routes out of prison for survivors of violence. Second, FACPRI will support efforts to address the lack of research and theory about the criminalization of survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and how gender violence is integral to carcerality.

FACPRI was seeded within the CRG through connections developed in the following major events:

  • 2013 conference, “Race, Domestic and Sexual Violence: From the Prison Nation to Community Resistance,” which featured Profs. Angela Davis, Kimberle Crenshaw, and Beth Richie as keynote speakers, organized by the Center for Race & Gender and the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at the UC Berkeley Law School.
  • 2015 symposium, “#SurvivedAndPunished: Building Radical Coalitions to End the Criminalization of Survivors,” which also featured scholars, local organizers, and Renata Hill from the New Jersey 4 and Kelly Ann Savage, activists who spoke on the experience of surviving the intersections of domestic/sexual violence and carceral/state violence. The symposium was collaboratively organized by the CRG and community organizations, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Stand With Nan-Hui, and Free Marissa Now.
  • The 2015 symposium also screened Out in the Night, an award winning documentary about the prosecution of four black lesbians in New Jersey for defending themselves from sexual violence and the grassroots movement to free them.

FACPRI also contributed to the following powerful Oakland-based community events:

  • Co-sponsored the 2017 “No Selves to Defend” community art exhibit, a collection of poster art telling the stories of survivors who have been criminalized.  The exhibit was organized by Survived and Punished.
  • Contributed testimony at the 2016 event, “Breaking the Silence: Oakland Town Hall on Women and Girls of Color.” This Town Hall created the space for local decision makers to listen to the challenges and daily experiences of girls and women of color across a range of issues including displacement, education, interpersonal and inter-communal violence, and criminalization.  The event was organized by the African American Policy Forum, Impact Hub Oakland and members of the BTSTH_Oak Planning Committee.