Over the past 30 years, domestic violence has been increasingly recognized as a national epidemic. Unfortunately, the significant advances made by the anti-violence movement have stopped short of reforming the unjust ways in which the criminal justice system responds to and punishes DV survivors charged with crimes directly related to the abuse they suffer. The DV Survivors Justice Act would: (1) give judges discretion to sentence survivors whose abuse was a “significant contributing factor” in their crime to lower sentences and, in some cases, to community-based alternatives to incarceration instead of prison, and (2) permit currently incarcerated survivors to apply to the courts for resentencing and earlier release. This bill would begin to change the myriad injustices facing survivor-defendants and help protect their human rights, all while saving significant state funds and enhancing public safety.

The DVSJA Campaign is led by the Coalition for Women Prisoners, a state-wide coalition coordinated by the Women in Prison Project of the Correctional Association of NY. The Campaign continues to grow due to the extraordinary efforts of Coalition members, a diverse group of advocates, including formerly and currently incarcerated individuals, service providers, community leaders, attorneys, educators, writers, artists and concerned individuals.