Host: Children's Law Center
Sponsor: Crowell & Moring Foundation
This project will increase women lifers’ access to gender-appropriate parole representation and alter the manner in which the California Board of Parole Hearings considers gendered trauma in their decisions.
Women are the fastest growing correctional population in California, almost 20% of whom are serving indeterminate life sentences. Rather than being released after a set number of years, the Board of Parole Hearings determines whether “lifers” can safely be released. Prior to their incarceration, 85-90% of women experience domestic, sexual, and/or childhood abuse (“gendered trauma”), which often is a causative factor of their incarceration. But current parole law does not adequately consider gendered trauma in determining suitability for parole. Without legal recognition of gendered trauma, women lifers will continue to be imprisoned, despite the fact that they no longer pose a risk to society. While time, self-reflection, and maturity allow women to understand the traumas that contributed to their crimes, under current law, they are unable to transform their understandings into meaningful opportunities for release.
In the first year, Lilli has:
In the next year, Lilli plans to: