California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP)

171,042 supporters

CCWP is a grassroots social justice organization, with members inside and outside prison, that challenges the institutional violence imposed on women, transgender people, and communities of color by the prison industrial complex (PIC). We see the struggle for racial and gender justice as central to dismantling the PIC and we prioritize the leadership of the people, families, and communities most impacted in building this movement.

Started 3 petitions

Petitioning Gavin Newsom

Commutation for Domestic Violence Survivor, Tracee Ward

Tracee Ward (W82517) is a survivor of Intimate Partner Violence and extensive physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her violent, older boyfriend.  She is serving her 23rd year of incarceration for a series of murders planned and committed by her boyfriend, who dragged Tracee along for the ride and hurt her and threatened to kill her when she tried to escape. Tracee became involved with her boyfriend while suffering from clinical depression and PTSD resulting from childhood trauma, abuse, and neglect.  In addition, prior to her trial, a psychological expert determined that Tracee has extremely low cognitive function – he diagnosed her with a significant cortical brain impairment, which severely limited her ability to make independent rational judgments at the time of the crimes, and made her particularly susceptible to pressure from others. At 19, Tracee was prosecuted for her boyfriend’s crimes.  She had no support, and tested “barely competent to stand trial.”  Ultimately, she was pressured into accepting a Life Without Parole sentence as a plea bargain, based in part on false information.  Despite her young age and low cognitive function, because Tracee was 19 years old at the time, she does not qualify for recent changes in the law that provide parole opportunities to juveniles sentenced to life without parole. In prison, Tracee has fully committed to her rehabilitation and become a role model for others.  She attends numerous rehabilitation groups that have helped her heal from past trauma and address the factors that led to her conviction.  She has completed many vocational and educational programs, and mentors younger incarcerated people.  She has an exemplary prison record, having received no serious disciplinary violations during her 20+ years in prison.  For all of these reasons, we strongly believe that Tracee should be granted a commutation to a parole-eligible sentence and be able to go before the parole board.  Please give her the chance she deserves.  Please note: if you choose to sign, change.org provides an opportunity for you to 'chip in' money.  Please be aware that this money goes to promote the petition so that it reaches more people, not to Tracee.  Please support additional petitions here: www.carenotcages.com

California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP)
159,185 supporters
Petitioning Office of the Governor

Grant Emergency Medical Release for Susan Russo

Susan Russo is a 65-year-old survivor of domestic violence who is serving her 24th year in prison.  Susan is sick with both COPD, a chronic inflammatory lung disease, and Valley Fever, a deadly infection that already caused her to lose one lung, putting her at a dangerously high medical risk for COVID-19.  In 2017, Governor Brown commuted Susan, making her the first woman to have her sentence changed from Life Without Parole (LWOP) to a parole-eligible sentence.  Please join us in asking Governor Newsom to grant emergency release for Susan. Susan has worked tirelessly on her own rehabilitation, taking accountability for her actions, healing from her trauma, and dedicating herself to breaking the cycle of violence.  Susan has maintained her sobriety for 26 years.  She regularly attends Narcotics Anonymous and has the support of a sponsor.  Susan accesses therapy regularly and successfully completed self-help programs designed to support accountability.  One of Susan’s most significant accomplishments is co-founding and facilitating Prison of Peace, aiming to end violence in prison through teaching conflict resolution and restorative justice skills.  The program was so successful that it is now a non-profit organization operating throughout the country. From surviving an abusive relationship where she felt she had no options to access safety, to attempting to survive a global pandemic in prison with severe chronic illnesses, Susan has not had access to safety and care for decades.  She continues to suffer from two severe, life-threatening respiratory illnesses due to the egregious lack of health care in prisons.  Given the nature of her illnesses and the COVID-19 pandemic, Susan’s life is in imminent danger. Please join us in asking Governor Gavin Newsom to immediately release Susan Russo to her community where she can access life-saving health care and reconnect with her supportive community. Please note: if you choose to sign, change.org provides an opportunity for you to 'chip in' money.  Please be aware that this money goes to promote the petition so that it reaches more people, not to Susan.  Please support additional petitions here: www.carenotcages.com.

California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP)
1,281 supporters
Petitioning Xavier Becerra

Free Kelly! Domestic violence survivor serving her 19th year in prison for a crime committed by her abusive husband.

Kelly is a domestic violence survivor serving her 22nd year in prison for a crime she did not commit. In 1995, Kelly's abusive husband killed her son Justin after she put her children to sleep and left the house to run errands in preparation to leave him with her children the next day. Her ex-husband has since confessed his responsibility for Justin’s death, telling Kelly in a letter he wrote from prison last year that “I should of let you all get away from me.” Kelly’s trial and conviction rested on the prosecution exploiting myths and misconceptions of survivors of abuse. Even Kelly’s own defense attorney told the jury that she was negligent for not leaving her abusive husband, a damaging and inaccurate argument that hurt her case. Kelly’s history of abuse began when she was less than four years old. She sustained a lifetime of rapes, beatings and other abuse by a succession of family members, acquaintances and two husbands, including the husband who killed Justin. Kelly was not present for her son’s killing, but the DA blamed her for not escaping and saving her children sooner, ignoring the very real and documented dangers associated with attempting to leave an abusive partner. The DA also exploited Kelly's history of abuse to suggest that she didn't run because she enjoyed the beatings, and sacrificed her son to "please" her abusive husband. Kelly was convicted of first-degree murder for “aiding and abetting” her abusive husband, and sentenced to Life Without Possibility of Parole. California’s Intimate Partner Battering legislation allows Kelly to petition for a review of her conviction by introducing expert testimony about her abuse that was not allowed in her trial. Kelly’s defense was severely harmed by the absence of expert testimony to explain how prolonged intimate partner battering was relevant to her case. Kelly’s lawyer and trial judge fought her request for an expert in domestic violence who could have testified on her behalf. In prison, Kelly keeps her heart and spirit strong by focusing on helping other prisoners. She leads support groups on domestic violence and cycles of abuse. Kelly also works hard to raise money within the prison. She helps raise more than $9000 a year to send to a low-income school in Madera, paying for basic school supplies and computers for local kids. Kelly is also one of few approved caregivers in a Comfort Care program, where she gives needed support to dying and incapacitated prisoners. Through the California Habeas Project and Free Battered Women, now the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP), Kelly secured legal help from pro-bono attorneys at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Kelly’s petition is currently held up in the appeals court process and past Attorney Generals have opposed her chance at a fair hearing. Join us in asking Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, to not oppose Kelly’s habeas petition and tell the court to grant her a fair hearing. Domestic violence survivors need care and support, not prison! For more info: colby@womenprisoners.org Facebook: please join the group "FreeKelly!"  Twitter: @womenprisoners (#FreeKelly)  

California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP)
10,576 supporters