Support Women Prisoners – Protest Prisoner Overcrowding at Chowchilla

The Global Women’s Strike (GWS) and US PROStitutes Collective are calling for all to come out to Chowchilla, the site of the largest women’s prison in the world, Saturday, January 26,  to support women prisoners and protest prisoner overcrowding, in this case of women.  Some women are housed eight to a cell, which is designed to hold two.   (See flyer below in English and Spanish). 

We are part of a coalition brought together by the California Coalition for Women Prisoners which is organizing this rally outside Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla. We protest the brutal conditions women are facing inside prisons made worse by overcrowding. Women, mainly single mothers, are the fastest growing sector in the prison population.  This is especially true of women of color: since 1986 incarceration of women of color grew 800%. And 75% of women in prison are mothers.

  • Women are in prison for crimes of poverty, the “criminalization of survival”:  shoplifting, sex work, non-violent offences linked to drugs and so-called welfare  fraud. Every cut in welfare, housing and essential resources results in more women being criminalized and imprisoned. Every cut in welfare results in a rise in the numbers of women filling the prisons.
  • Women are trapped inside to suffer terrible mistreatment by male prison guards including groping, invasive pat-downs, peeping during showers, verbal taunts, rape and other abuse that many would consider torture. The overcrowding in Chowchilla prisons is worsening the abuse. Prison guards are harassing and provoking women who are spending more time locked down.
  • It is estimated that 92% of all women in California prisons have been battered and abused in their lifetimes.  Violence against women in prison is disregarded and not investigated.
  • Every year thousands of children are deprived of their mothers’ care and protection by prison which impacts their health and well-being. Children of incarcerated mothers have the highest infant mortality rate. On top of the agony of being separated from their children, mothers face their children being fast tracked into adoption while they are powerless inside.
  • The desperate and overcrowded situation in Chowchilla prisons is shattering the lives and health of prisoners and their families. Access to mail and phone calls has gotten worse.

GWS and US PROS are part of a growing national campaign calling on the US government to reverse the increasing numbers of women inside by ending the poverty of women and children and reinstating welfare as a right. We are campaigning to support two bills to be reintroduced in Congress, the WORK Act and the Rise Act that recognize caregiving work and support resources for the most impoverished mothers and other caregivers. This would reduce the numbers of women sent to prison.


We are 3 weeks away from our statewide mobilization to Chowchilla to protest the unconstitutional overcrowding in California’s women prisons and show our support for our loved ones inside who are struggling to survive as the conditions worsen. As a result of the conversion of Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW), one of the remaining women’s prisons has now reached 179% capacity. A woman recently transferred to CCWF informed us that they were given clothes and bedding that “you wouldn’t want even your dog sleeping on.” Another person confirmed, “Everything we rely on to survive, including medical and legal, is highly impacted by overcrowding. Overcrowding is the issue. It causes everything else to come crashing down like dominoes.”

We need your help to show the U.S. Supreme Court, the government, and prison officials that not only are we witnessing this discrimination and abuse but we will not be silent! Join us in demanding an end to overcrowding! Our loved one’s deserve humane living conditions and their freedom! Bring them home!


Saturday, January 26, 2013


Contact or 415-255-7036 x 314

Caravans leaving from MacArthur BART in Oakland at 10:30AM and Chuco’s Justice Center in Inglewood at 8:30AM. We will gather at 2PM at SE corner of Ave. 24 and Fairmead Blvd off Highway 99 in Chowchilla.

Rally begins at 3PM at VSPW. 


Chowchilla Freedom Rally Benefit hosted by Occupy 4 Prisoners! 

Saturday, January 19th 6 – 8PM

The Hold Out, 2313 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland

$5 – 10 donations, no one turned away

The benefit will feature “Fighting For Our Lives,” a short documentary about the history of resistance to medical neglect at CCWF & VSPW plus presentations by prison survivors, information about the protest and sign-making. We’re so grateful for the community support!

Can’t make the benefit but want to donate? Contribute online at CLICK & PLEDGE.

Solidarity actions encouraged! If you cannot make the rally or do not live in California, we encourage you to organize a solidarity action on the same day in your community. Hold a demonstration in front of the DOC offices or the county jail, organize a speak-out against prisons in a public space, stand in solidarity the Chowchilla Freedom Rally! Please let us know how we can support you! Contact

Interested in helping to organize this event? Join our coalition! Our next meeting is Wednesday, January 9, 2013 from 6 – 8PM at the CCWP offices. 1540 Market Street, Suite 490, San Francisco. Or contact

The Chowchilla Freedom Rally Coalition includes members from California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Californians United for a Responsible Budget, Justice NOW, All Of Us Or None, Legal Services for Prisoners With Children, Fired Up!, Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Transgender, Gender Variant, Intersex Justice Project, Critical Resistance, Youth Justice Coalition, Global Women’s Strike, Occupy 4 Prisoners, US PROStitutes Collective, Asian Pacific Islander Support Committee and the California Prison Moratorium Project.


Estamos a 3 semanas de nuestra movilización a nivel estatal para Chowchilla para protestar por la inconstitucionalidad de sobrepoblación en las cárceles de mujeres de California y demostrar nuestro apoyo a nuestros seres queridos en el interior que están luchando para sobrevivir a las condiciones que empeoran. Como resultado de la conversión de la prisión estatal de mujeres de Valley (cárcel femenina de Valley), una de las cárceles de mujeres restantes ha llegado a 179% de la capacidad. Una mujer recientemente transferida a CCWF nos informó que se les dio ropa y ropa de cama “que ni siquiera quisiera que su perro durmiendo en” Otra persona confirmó: “Todo en lo que dependemos para sobrevivir, incluyendo servicios médicos y legales, es altamente impactado por el sobrepoblación. Sobrepoblación es el problema. Hace que todo venga abajo como fichas de dominó“.

Necesitamos su ayuda para mostrale a la Corte Supreme Estadounidense, el gobierno y los oficiales de la prisión que no sólo estamos presenciando a esta discriminación y abuso, pero no vamos a guardar silencio! Únase a nosotros para exigir un fin a la sobrepoblación! Nuestros seres queridos se merecen una vida digna y su libertad! Traerlos a casa!

Manifestación Para la Libertad de Chowchilla
Sábado, 26 de Enero 2013

Contacto o llamenos al  415-255-7036 x 314

Las caravanas parten de MacArthur BART en Oakland a las 10:30 AM y el Centro de Justicia de Chuco en Inglewood a las 8:30 PM. Nos reuniremos a las 2 pm en la esquina SE de la avenida. 24 y Fairmead Blvd. cerca de la autopista 99 en Chowchilla.

Rally comienza a las 3:00 en la cárcel femenina de Valley.

Chowchilla Rally Beneficio organizado por Occupy 4 Prisoners!

Sábado, 19 de enero 6 – 8:00PM
El Hold Out, 2313 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland
$ 5 – 10 donaciones, nadie será rechazado

El beneficio contará con “Fighting for our lives”, un documental sobre la historia de la resistencia a la negligencia médica en la cárcel femenina de Valley CCWF y más presentaciones de los sobrevivientes de la prisión, la información sobre la protesta. Estamos muy agradecidos por el apoyo de la comunidad!
Interesado en ayudar a organizar este evento? Póngase en contacto

La Chowchilla Freedom Rally Coalition incluye a miembros de: California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Californians United for a Responsible Budget, Justice NOW, All Of Us Or None, Legal Services for Prisoners With Children, Fired Up!, Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Transgender, Gender Variant, Intersex Justice Project, US PROStitutes Collective, Critical Resistance, Youth Justice Coalition, Global Women’s Strike, Occupy 4 Prisoners, Asian Pacific Islander Support Committee and the California Prison Moratorium Project






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