Survivors Justice Project: A Radical Collaboration to Decarcerate Survivors of Domestic Violence

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90 Minutes

Originally Aired
April 20, 2022

Elizabeth Isaacs
Elizabeth Isaacs, JD
Teaching & Advocacy Fellow, Survivors Justice Project
Melissa Mahabir, MSW
Project Coordinator
Survivors Justice Project
Patrice Smith
SJP Advisory Group Member, Exodus Trainer & Project Manager

The Survivors Justice Project (SJP) is a collective of survivors of domestic violence, currently and formerly incarcerated women, activists, lawyers, and students working for the decarceration of domestic violence survivors through the implementation of the New York State Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (DVSJA). The Coalition for Women Prisoners launched the campaign for the DVSJA in 2009, led by currently and formerly incarcerated women, many of whom are survivors of abuse. Ten years later, the DVSJA became law. It is the first sentencing reform of its kind: it takes a broad view of domestic violence as more than just intimate partner abuse and allows for alternative sentencing and resentencing for survivors convicted of a range of offenses, including felonies categorized as violent. Many survivors have already been released from prison under the DVSJA but there remains much work to do. This session will present SJP’s collaborative and interdisciplinary work. The presenters will share the resources that have been developed for “creating a new narrative” that can be utilized by professionals in other states and explore the law’s impact in New York in its initial two years. The goal of this project, and this presentation, is to reimagine what justice looks like for survivors of domestic violence who have been criminalized.


As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Explain the elements of the innovative Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act, a 2019 New York sentencing reform.
  • Explore the grassroots organizing history that created the DVSJA and led to its passage. 
  • Recognize that advocacy does not end at the passage of a law, and how participatory research can ensure state accountability and form a collective response to the specific needs of survivors in prison. 

With a paid registration or subscription, you are free to personally listen to this webinar, as many times as you wish. You may also excerpt or cite the material following accepted conventions. However, you may not allow other individuals to listen to this webinar without their own registration or subscription.

This content is for Individual – Monthly, Individual – Annual, Individual – Lifetime, Agency – Bronze (1-10 Users), Agency – Silver (11-25 Users), Agency – Gold (26-50 Users), Agency – Platinum (51-500 Users), and Lifetime Access – Survivors Justice Project: A Radical Collaboration to Decarcerate Survivors of Domestic Violence members only.
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