herstory oregon survey in cccf

We asked. The women answered. We have much to learn from what they had to say.

In the winter of 2017 and in the spring of 2018, the Oregon Justice Resource Center’s Women’s Justice Project and Portland State University’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, with the cooperation of Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF), implemented the HerStory Oregon Survey. We surveyed over 140 women incarcerated in CCCF about their experiences through the criminal process – from arrest to sentencing, from intake in CCCF to their thoughts about their future release from prison.

Julia Yoshimoto, the Project Director and attorney for the Women’s Justice Project, has listened to many stories from incarcerated women about their experience with the criminal system. As she heard from more and more women, problematic trends in Oregon’s criminal process and the treatment of defendants, incarcerated people, and formerly incarcerated people in Oregon emerged. Julia found that women wanted to share and make their voices heard with a hope to change the system so that others would not have to suffer similar fates. The women’s stories and interest in speaking out sparked the idea to find a way for women in CCCF to collectively share their experiences so that Oregon can better understand what is really going on in its criminal legal systems and where reforms, particularly for women, are greatly needed.

With the collaboration and expertise of PSU Criminology and Criminal Justice professor Mark Leymon, this spark of an idea became a reality as the HerStory Oregon Survey. Over the course of eighteen months, Julia with Dr. Leymon drafted, vetted, and finalized the survey for the women at CCCF. The survey (methodology and substance) was approved by PSU's Institutional Review Board and the Oregon Department of Corrections Research Committee.

The Survey was a paper and pencil survey divided into two parts. Coding for both parts is complete and analysis of the results has begun. To our knowledge, this is a first-of-its-kind survey conducted in Oregon.

Thank you to the women at CCCF who participated in the survey. We thank you for sharing your stories, for your courage, and for your care in changing the system for those who will come after you.

We want to give special thanks to the Oregon Department of Correction and Coffee Creek Correctional Facility for their cooperation and accommodations. We also want to thank our volunteers – members of the Women’s Justice Project Advisory Committee, supporters of the OJRC, and PSU students – who were generous with their time and instrumental in helping us prepare women for the survey, conducting the survey in CCCF, and helping with the results.

Over the course of the following months, we will release a series of short information sheets with the results.

HerStory Oregon Survey Information Sheets:

1: Introduction (October 2018)
2: Intimate Partner Violence and Trauma (February 2019)