Sister Warriors Freedom Charter

For the decriminalization and decarceration of women, girls, and trans people of all genders, and (re)unification with our children and families.

We, women and trans people of all genders, declare that only a society based on equity, transformative justice, the recognition of full human rights, the protection of and access to basic needs for all – without discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality, class, immigration status, ability or age and that seeks to reverse intergenerational poverty and historic trauma – can call itself truly democratic and free, and realize liberty and justice for all.

We pledge to strive together until the decriminalization and decarceration of all women, girls, and trans people of all genders and our loved ones and communities is achieved and our families – as we define them – are (re)united.

Five people standing in front of a government building

This includes securing the following rights:

We have the right to self-determination

We must determine what success looks like for ourselves. We have the right to lay our own paths free from punitive and controlling systems, and input and voice around all services impacting our lives.

We have the right to be free from sexual, gender-based, and physical violence, abuse, and exploitation

perpetrated by our families, partners, community, the State, and institutions. We have a right to defend ourselves from intimate, community, State, and institutional violence.

We have the right to make our own medical care decisions and to access quality medical care

and on-demand preventative care for our physical, mental, emotional, dental, vision, and reproductive health.

We have a right to access cultural, holistic, and professional methods of healing

to address the trauma we are exposed to while we are involved in the system and when we leave them. We have the right to access healing prior to coming into contact with systems and as a key to preventing system-involvement. We should not be punished for our pain, exploitation, and trauma. We need healing, not punishment when we self-medicate for our trauma and grief.

We have the right to be treated with dignity

regardless of our legal or immigration status, past history of arrest or incarceration, or classifications given by the State or institutions.

We have the right to redeem ourselves

to break the cycle of abuse and violence. We have the right to heal, to own and make amends for our mistakes, and the right to resources and support to seek transformation on our own terms. We claim the right to be free from discrimination based on our own or intergenerational histories of arrest and incarceration.

We have the right to economic opportunities

In order to escape cycles of poverty, exploitation, incarceration, and abuse, we need employment and other economic opportunities that recognize our value, transferable skills, and dignity.

We have the right to be declared free from any debt to the justice system

and to our confidentiality when we have completed our time. We should have equal pay for our labor while inside to comparable work on the outside.

We have the right to access education, knowledge, and technology

while incarcerated, as we re-enter, and move through systems that will allow us to keep up with the world we anticipate returning to post system-involvement.

We have a right to permanent, safe, and affordable housing

that does not feel like the institutions that have harmed us. We deserve homes where we can rest, be at ease and are safe, and where we can raise our children and build our families. We have a right to be part of deciding our placement within jails, prisons, transitional housing, foster care, and/or group homes – including transferring to other facilities or placements.

We have the right to access (touch, hear, and see) our children, family, and loved ones

when we are in the systems that criminalize and control us. We have a right to inform who cares for our children while we are unable to due to incarceration, houselessness, poverty, or other conditions. We have a right to get support and resources to stay connected to and reunite with our children as soon as we are able to.

We have the right for our gender and sexuality to be respected

and to be free from limiting conceptions of masculinity and femininity and the gender binary, to access hormone therapy and not have it withheld, to express our gender and sexuality while inside systems, on the streets and in our homes without fear of homophobic and transphobic discrimination, harassment and/or assault.

We have the right to be consulted when institutions want to create, revise and eliminate policies, legislation, rules, or laws

that will impact the way we experience systems. We are best positioned to identify alternatives to incarceration, criminalization, and family separation. We should have oversight over the systems and institutions that most impact us.