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:
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“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)