Direct Action for Incarcerated Survivors

About Incarcerated Survivors

Throughout the history of the country and the world, survivors of interpersonal violence are repeatedly incarcerated and punished for defending themselves against assault or abuse. Women of color & transgender folx in particular are disproportionately impacted when it comes to incarceration, a direct effect of stiffer drug laws and sentencing requirements growing over the years as well as an expansion of law enforcement efforts across the country as the United States government has taken a “tough on crime” approach. Post-incarceration barriers – including the general stigma that comes with having been incarcerated, even if the incarceration was wrongful – impacts marginalized folx in disproportionate ways as they re-enter the world.

Quick facts
  • The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. [1] 

  • While Black people make up 13% of the country’s population, they make up 40% of the prison population. [2]

  • The number of incarcerated women in the United States increased by 750% between 1980 and 2017. [3] 

  • In 2017, the imprisonment rate for Black women was twice the rate of imprisonment for white women. Hispanic women were imprisoned at 1.3 times the rate of white women. [3]

  • Nearly 60% of women in state prisons have a history of physical and sexual abuse. That number is as high as 94% for certain populations. [4]

  • 67% of women who had been imprisoned for killing someone close to them had been abused by their victim. [5] 

SHARPP is an organization committed to ending violence in all its forms, that includes dismantling the systems of oppression that perpetuate violence within our community. Those who are Black, Brown, Indigenous, transgender, or gender expansive are too often left out of our conversations about their experience with violence... and really the intersections of their racial or gender identity and their survivor identity, are often times ignored or silenced. Their voices, stories, and experiences need to be validated and uplifted. As an office, we will continue to work towards educating our community about the realities of disproportionate incarceration of women of color and trans folx for defending themselves against their abusers or perpetrators.

Click here to find just a few of the many stories of survivors who have been punished for protecting themselves or others against abuse or assault. We have also listed ways that you can take action for each case where applicable: this can mean making a donation, making a phone call to a local mayor or justice department, or writing a letter to the survivor.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, September 14 2021 | 1245-2pm | Letter Writing Workshop for Incarcerated Survivors
Ham Smith G21

Thursday, November 4 2021 | 1245-2pm | Letter Writing Workshop for Incarcerated Survivors
Ham Smith G21

Thursday, December 2 2021 | 3-415pm | Letter Writing Workshop for Incarcerated Survivors

 Click here to visit our Full events page