Get Involved with the Women's Prison Project

The Women’s Prison Project is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between Tulane’s Domestic Violence and Criminal Justice Clinics. The program provides legal representation to criminalized survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and trafficking, with a particular focus on survivors charged or imprisoned after killing an abuser in self-defense or for having committed crimes under an abuser’s coercion or duress. Clinic students get hands-on legal training and the women receive representation on their legal cases.

Domestic violence survivors interact with the criminal legal system not only as victims, but also as defendants. In fact, a majority of women in U.S. prisons attribute their incarceration to a history or context of abuse. The United States Department of Justice estimates that sixty-percent of incarcerated women are abuse survivors, and over a third were abused by an intimate partner. 

Historically, the legal system and the lawyers who work within it have failed to meaningfully address the role of intimate partner violence in assessing criminal culpability. The Project’s work includes:

  • Individual representation from pre-trial to post-conviction, parole, and clemency proceedings
  • Training and education for criminal system professionals and the women tasked with assisting other incarcerated women with legal claims
  • Consultation to defense attorneys representing survivors charged with or convicted of crimes relating to their abuse
  • Policy work to improve legal protections for victims who are defendants in the criminal legal system
  • Production of training materials and practice manuals for prosecutors and defense attorneys

How can you get involved?

  • Volunteer to provide pro bono assistance or partnership opportunities
  • Donate to cover costs associated with intensive case investigations



“To watch her come out of the prison system and to reunite with her family was just the most humbling, beautiful moment. To watch her finally walk free and into this new chapter of her life was fantastic.” Courtney Crowell (L'19)

Women in Louisiana Prisons