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Action Committee for Women in Prison

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: Advocates for humane and compassionate treatment of women in prison; collaborates with other organizations dedicated to reforming the criminal justice system, and works for the release of women prisoners who pose no danger to society; informs and educates the public; and promotes a shift of focus from punishment to rehabilitation and restorative justice

Geographic areas served: California

Community Stories

29 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Madge W.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Wonderful group of women doing amazing things to help women in prison and when they get out. Support compassionate release and have a radio show for and by incarcerated women. A great organization.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been mentoring women parolees and have been interested in wrongfully convicted women in prison or those serving time way above the normal amount of time required. This organization helps women in prison and those on the outside. We give gifts to women in prison for Christmas and use our volunteers and donors to petition to get women out of prison. Also, we have a radio show that os by and for women that have been in prison and also exonerated. Please check us out on ACWIP.net.

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1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful cause for so many who need it. I would like to see more wrongfully convicted women released and exonerated. Keep up the great work!

Jennifer213

Board Member

Rating: 5

ACWIP is a beacon of light in a world often forgotten. By helping incarcerated women, the wrongfully convicted, and their families, ACWIP is a strong, driving force within a justice system that needs more "justice". Gloria's dedication and commitment to women in prison is unwavering! I cannot give a high enough review.

1 Maya N.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I cannot imagine a more worthy purpose than to extend the hand of help and friendship of incarcerated women. So many of them are in there for crimes that harm no one -- close probation would have better served them and their communities. An attempt to help them out of the situations that had landed them in trouble in the first place would have been even better.

Nonetheless, what is done is done; now the focus must be in helping these women, who just really want happy lives and to be mothers to their children again succeed on the outside. This program does just that. It does so much, but probably the most important is a mentoring program that pairs women on the outside with the newly released. Much of what allows us to succeed in this world is a matter of skill and these are not things one learns when one is extremely impoverished or imprisoned. Give a woman the tools to make it, and generally, she will.

This is one of the very best nonprofits in my my opinion--I would love to see more just like it!

1 Amy_42

Board Member

Rating: 5

There are so many changes that need to be made within our "justice" system and prison system. ACWIP is focusing on positive change that helps those that have been wrongly convicted due to innocence, abuse, and more. ACWIP also focuses on second chances and starting over so lives are changed for the better going forward. Cycles will never be broken without people and programs that bring about positive change. This is such important work for generations of women.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

ACWIP and director Gloria Killian focus on not only helping women inside prison, but also on upon their release. ACWIP exhibits the upmost care, and attention to detail in all their projects and individual client cases including; medical conditions and situations inside prison and legal cases including appeals. Personally, I have been working with director Gloria Killian on a new re-entry project where we will employ women coming out of prison to make designer handbags. Gloria has a vision of creating a space that offers life/work skill workshops, and work, so the women can implement their lives more gracefully back into the world. I am very impressed with the work this non profit is doing, whether it's offering world-wide pen pals to women inside prison, or the Christmas project that gives a care package to each women inside Southern California's prisons.

1 bmbrown

Board Member

Rating: 5

ACWIP helps the country know about the problems and concerns of women in prison. Many incarcerated women had been abused. Some had been drug abusers which had lead to their cycle of crime. ACWIP works with legislators and other public officials to inform and educate about the unique situations of women in prison. ACWIP brings attention to the oversentencing and lack of attention that is given to women that have become incarcerated.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

Action Committee for Women in Prison, started by Gloria Killian is just what the name says...an action committee for the growing number of women in prison in this country. Gloria Killian was wrongfully convicted and served over seventeen years of her life in prison for a crime that she did not commit. In prison, she helped other inmates and when finally released vowed to help other incarcerated women. She is a dedicated activist for those who do not have a voice. She co-hosts a weekly internet radio show where stories are told of the injustices that continue to happen. She speaks from authority and firsthand knowledge of what the problems in the prison systems are and she is also an respected international speaker on these topics of women in prison, wrongful convictions, and the need to ban the death penalty.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Gloria Killian is an outstanding woman, who has used her exoneration to help many others nationwide and abroad. She was the featured speaker at our first Freedom March for the Wrongfully Convicted, held in June 2009 at the Arizona State Capitol, as well as, helping to start the California Freedom March at the same time. Her modesty belies the tremendous impact her work is having for incarcerated women, the wrongfully convicted and the innocent behind bars. Her leadership is much needed in the broader scope of National Criminal Justice Reform. No woman has her first hand experience of living almost 20 behind bars and now in a position that could help policy and lawmakers understand the reality why the United States must reform it's laws and restore fair justice.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Gloria Killian is a terrific campaigner for prison reform. I have known her for nearly a decade through our church, where she has tirelessly led the prison ministry in a way I can only call inspiring. Christians are called to be a voice for the marginalized and the victimized. I wish there were no victims in our prisons, but alas, life is not so simple and easy as that. Women have been especially hurt in the scandal of our "corrections" system, and attending to that has been Gloria's special mission.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am the executive director of 4justicenow, the Fl, NY,NJ chapters of the Action Committee for Women in Prison. This organization does more for helping women and children than any other organization in the field. Both Gloria and I were wrongly convicted and we work tirelessly to give voice to the women we left behind. Most of the women we advocate for are victims of horrendous abuse and many are in prison for crimes their abusers committed. In most cases they have been totally alienated from their children. This nonprofit is truly GREAT for the work of helping incarcerated women. The largest growing segment of prison population and most often forgotten.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first met Gloria Killian (the founder and director of ACWIP) over a year and a half ago. She is truly an amazing woman whos' tireless efforts have served to assist a great many women who society has or would like to simply write off as lost causes.
Many of these women are as much if not more victims as they are criminals. Many are in prison for defending themselves and/or their children against abusive husbands/boyfriends.
Then there are the women who, because of their age or their medical condition, can not possibly be considered a danger to society. She believes that keeping these women inprisoned serves neither justice nor society and is simply inhumane.
In addition to raising; money for various projects such as her annual Christmas project, (she makes sure that the women in prison and their children all receive christmas presents), she also champions their cause around the world speaking out to anyone and everyone who will listen. She testified several times in front of a number of committees about the need for Prison Reform and is in constant demand by universities and other groups on the subject.
In doing so she has enlightened a great many people to the plight of these women.
As if this isn't enough, she also co-hosts a weekly internet radio program "Women behind the Wall" which has a worldwide audience.
Her one goal in life is informs the public of the terrible injustices that are inflicted upon women prisoners in this country

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Most people in the public have no idea how inaccessible our justice system is. This is all the more so for those incarcerated. I have represented life-term inmates for the last 14 years and it is an incredibly difficult job. The statutory limitations and hurdles someone in prison has to go through just to get to court would be unbelievable to the average taxpayer. Because of my own work I recognize Gloria's personal story as being absolutely amazing - proving herself innocent while constrained behind bars. Because of this she has a unique point of view and truley understands how difficult it is even for the blatantly innocent to get justice. (It took Gloria 17 years to do it.) This organization provides help to those who desperately need it and who have no financial means to entice the legal community to take an interest. These clients, many innocent like Gloria, have absolutely no political power, and they are often the target of social animosity. And yet our success as a society depends upon not on our ability to incarcerate but our ability to provide a viable means for people to change and become functioning members of society. Without the reentry portion of the equation the entire prison system is a social failure. This is exactly the type of organization that makes our system work. And it's not a bloated government program, it's an non-profit!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Gloria was instrumental in my fight to obtain the release from prison that the Board of Prison Hearings had granted ELEVEN times! I have also seen what it has meant to other women on the inside that there is someone willing to give them a voice. The Action Committee for Women in Prison provides a much needed, and frequently undervalued, service to society at large. Kudos to Gloria and the Action Committee for Women in Prison.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first met Gloria Killian when I attended a Faces of Wrongful Conviction conference several years ago. She and several other exonerees told their stories. Gloria spent 17 years in prison for a crime she did not commit, and was ultimately exonerated and released into society. I imagine it would be tough to regain any semblance of normalcy after such an experience. But rather than feel sorry for herself after being the victim of such a travesty of justice, Gloria has dedicated her life to helping other women in prison. She does not limit her compassion to those who, like her, were innocent. She works for the rights of all prisoners, tirelessly advocating to the legislature and spreading the word to all who will listen about prison conditions and tremendous problems with the parole system.

Previous Stories
12

Board Member

Rating: 5

After hearing Gloria Killian speak about her wrongful conviction and her experience as an exoneree, I began to attend ACWIP's monthly meetings. I learned about all of the concrete and tangible things this organization is doing for women in prison, like the Pen Pal project and the Christmas gift bags. I began to contribute in small ways and eventually became a board member. We have put on fundraisers including a production of the play "Prison of the Mind", which encouraged audience members to think about and discuss the various aspects of the death penalty. ACWIP is an amazing organization led by a truly extraordinary woman, Gloria Killian.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Gloria Killian, founder of ACWIP, is a courageous woman who is not afraid to face the issues of overincarceration, the plight of many of the women in prison, the wrongfully convicted, and the general abuses on all fronts in the prison system. She is educated, passionate and comes from a position of first hand experience after being wrongfully convicted for over seventeen years for a crime that she did not commit. I have had the opportunity to hear her speak several times and am always impressed with her dedication to this worthy cause. She has the solution to many of the problems facing the present U S prison system not just in California but around the country and around the world. I have also heard her internet radio show and she is an articulate and knowledgeable commentator.

Previous Stories
12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Gloria is a beautiful and smart woman who has taken a tragedy and turned it into a triumphant cause for those who no longer have a voice or vote in this climate of over incarceration. On this day, as former military, I salute Gloria and ACWIP for their courage. I have been at several fund raisers and always in awe of the stories that I hear from her and others that have survived this system.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Action Committee for Women in Prison (ACWIP) has had a huge impact on the lives of incarcerated women everywhere because of the programs they bring into the prison. Christmas time is one of the most difficult times for women in prison, and the little bit of cheer that we receive is provided by ACWIP. Each year every incarcerated woman in Southern California receives a gift bag from ACWIP and they also provide toys for our children who come to visit during the holidays. I got a pen pal through the organization who really lifted my spirits, and ACWIP also paid for my college books enabling me to obtain an AA degree while in prison. ACWIP made a big difference for me during the time I was in prison and helped me turn my life around.

Previous Stories
10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Lawrence Brantlinger and I'm a volunteer with the Action Committee for Women in Prison. I first became aware of this organization last July and have been doing what I can to assist in this cause for the past few months. ACWIP advocates for humane and compassionate treatment for all incarcerated women. In addition we also seek the establishment of developemental programs to improve the lives and prospects of these women both inside and out. One of the great tragedies in our country are the literally tens of thousands of women who our society has inprisoned and forgotten, the vast majority of which do not present any threat to our society. In some cases these women are actually innocent, it other cases these women acted out of desperation. Few are inclined towards violence. ACWIP offers a pen pal program, a greeting card program, whereby every woman serving 10 years or more gets a birthday card and a Christmas card, and a college book program that buys textbooks for incarcerated women who are taking college courses. Many of these women, victims of physical and/or sexual abuse, are there because they dared to rise up against their abusers in the only way, they believed, they could. They struck back against their abusers when the abuser was most vunerable. These women were defending themselves and in some cases their children as well, but since our Legal Justice System does not permit a plea of self defense unless the threat to life is immediate, their actions to free themselves from their abusers landed them in prison and in some cases even on Death Row. Their actions are acts of desperation and are understandable since many times when a woman attempts to defend herself against her abuser she can expect to be seriously injured or killed. ACWIP conducts the largest Christmas project in the United States delivering about 3000 gift bags to women in Southern California prisons and camps. The Director personally offers "Council" to women at the California Institution for Women on a monthly basis to reassure them that many of us have not forgotten them and that we are struggling to aid them in any way we can. There are also many women imprisoned who are infirmed and/or elderly, some suffer from terminal illnesses and have very little time left. Their imprisonment is of no benefit to society and in fact often costs the state far more to keep them locked up then it would to release them back into society where they could be cared for by their family and friends in the final years of their lives. The Action Committee for Women In Prison (AWCIP) is the creation of Gloria Killian, an extraordinary woman, who spent 17 years in prison herself for a crime she didn't commit. She was exenorated in 2002. Upon her release she vowed that she would do everything in her power to aid all the wrongfully imprisoned women, whether guilty of a crime or not, every where. She and other members of this organization now work tirelessly to keep that promise. ACWIP also produces a weekly international radio show WOMEN BEHIND THE WALL, that has thousands of supporters around the world, and presents issues of incarcerated women in a lively discussion format. On this program (WOMEN BEHIND THE WALL) ACWIP fights for the parole release and the compassionate release for women who pose no threat to society. They also conduct public education and awareness events educating people of the often inhuman and barbaric conditions that many of these women face in these institutions.

11

Board Member

Rating: 5

Gloria Killian, ACWIP's founder, is taking the tragic events of her own life and turning them into an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of women in prison everywhere. Her energy and positive force is something to behold.

12

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a wrongly convicted woman and know the true need for organizations such as this to help women who are wrongly convicted or unjustly sentenced. This is a great organization with many people who strive to make a difference.

12

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Action Committee for Women in Prison is a great organization. I am a Board Member and founder/director of the pen pal program of ACWIP, which matches up women outside of prison with women serving prison terms in California. Although most of our outside pen pals live in the United States, we have women from all over the world who have joined our group. I spend at least five hours a week involved in this activity. I find this activity very enjoyable because I meet so many interesting and compassionate women (via letters and email), Here is something that any woman (and particularly older women) can do from the comfort and safety of her own home, in less than a half hour of time, costing only a $.44 stamp!

16

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a long time Board member, I wholeheartedly attest to strides and achievements made by ACWIP. Gloria Killian, founder of ACWIP, was released from prison in 2002, after have served 16 years on a sentence of 32 year to life for a crime that she did not commit. She is painfully and intimately aware of abuse and injustice prevalent in our criminal justice system, particularly as it relates to women inmates. And from this knowledge and passion for justice, ACWIP was born. The mission of ACWIP is summed up in it's acronym. Advocates for humane and compassionate treatment of all incarcerated womn. Collaborates with other organization dedicated to reforming the criminal justice system. Works for the release of individual women prisoners who pose no danger to society. Informs and educates the public; develops and lobbies for new legislation. Promotes a shift of focus from punishment to rehabilitation. ACWIP has, is and will continue its efforts to achieve these overarching mission goals, but simultaneously also touches neglected and forgotten incarcerated women on a personal level. It provides assistance with college book purchases. Well over 400 pen pals have been established. The greeting card project ensures that women serving a sentence of 12 years or more receive at least one Birthday card and one Christmas card. Well over 1500 Christmas gift bags along with toys for their children are distributed along with organizing visits with their children. All of these activities help the women stay in touch with their communities, giving them the comfort of knowing they have not been forgotten. ACWIP is most definately an organization that serves to empower the women that it serves!