Women in Prison Conference


Our Women in Prison Conference did not take place this year due to the pandemic. We are sorry to miss seeing all of you this fall, but we understand, as we are sure you do too, that our priority must be protecting the health of our attendees, speakers, volunteers, and staff.

We are disappointed not to be able to stage this event as usual, which has been growing into an important gathering to focus on women in the justice system and the issues affecting them.

While the 2021 Women in Prison Conference will not happen, we hope that we will be able to come together in 2022 for our next scheduled conference. Details about that event will be available in 2022.


2019 Conference: Justice for Survivor-Defendants: Looking Toward Reforms

The Women in Prison Conference 2019 took place on Saturday, November 16 and Sunday, November 17 at the Portland Art Museum. The conference highlighted opportunities for reforms with regard to survivor-defendants, people who are affected by domestic violence who are also defendants. The event sold out, attracting a new record attendance of 260 people. Survivor-defendants are set up in multiple ways to receive unjust outcomes: the legal system was not designed with women in mind; the system doesn’t recognize the complexity of the circumstances of domestic abuse; and survivors face a high level of disbelief. The 2019 conference built on topics discussed two years previously, and went further to discuss ideas for reform.

Read the 2019 conference report.

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.