The Family Unity Project’s work spans the following programmatic areas:
- Custody rights and conditions of confinement for women who give birth while incarcerated
- End long-term solitary confinement
- Provide real alternatives to incarceration and family separation
- Expand visiting and maintain family bonds
Our strategies include:
- Policy advocacy: In 2012, we led a campaign to successfully end the most egregious forms of shackling of pregnant women in California’s prisons, juvenile facilities and county jails.
- Trainings: We train incarcerated mothers to advocate in court for themselves in order to maintain their parental rights. We train legal services providers in incarceration’s impact on family law matters. We provide mentorship and clinical experience to law students, undergraduates and other interns.
- Litigation: We are currently co-counsel in Ruiz v Brown, a class action suit filed on behalf of people incarcerated in long-term solitary confinement in Pelican Bay State Prison.
- Manuals: We provide legal manuals for people in prison as well as for their family members, other advocates and attorneys. Our Incarcerated Parents Manual is our most requested manual. You can find the Family Unity Project publications in the Resource Library.
- Reports: We research and issue reports on specific policy areas, such as, STOP SHACKLING: A report on the written policies of California’s counties on the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners in labor and CALIFORNIA’S MOTHER-INFANT PRISON PROGRAMS: An Investigation.
- Community education & coalition building: Family Unity Project is an active participant in the Prisoner Hunger Solidarity Coalition providing support and public information regarding the human rights violations in California’s solitary confinement cells.
- Media work: LSPC’s Family Unity Project receives requests for information and interviews from journalists around the United States regarding the impact of prison policies on family relationships and on the issue of solitary confinement. We have provided background and direct quotes for scores of stories on these and related issues.
- Individual consultations and referrals. We regularly respond to requests for information from family members, legal service and other service providers.