The Women's justice Project

Women come to intersect with the criminal justice system for reasons that are not always the same as those for men. Women may be more likely to have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual abuse, and/or other forms of abuse that are linked to their criminal behavior. Substance abuse and addiction may be linked to past traumatic experiences and can be a motivating factor in offending behavior such as prostitution or property crime.  

While women are still a minority of Oregon's prison inmates, their numbers are growing faster than men. The population of women incarcerated in our state grew by 35 percent between 2005 and 2015. The number of men incarcerated grew by only 13 percent over the same period. Nearly 1300 women were in prison in Oregon in March 2017.

The Women's Justice Project was created by the Oregon Justice Resource Center, a Portland-based nonprofit that works to promote civil rights and provide legal services to communities that have often been underserved in the past. The Women's Justice Project is the first and only program in Oregon to exclusively address the needs of women who are intersecting with the criminal justice system.

Our goals are to ensure that the criminal justice system treats women fairly, protects their health and safety, and makes it possible for them to successfully rejoin their communities when they are released. We do this through integrative advocacy: combining litigation, legislative reform, and other policy and communications initiatives.