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Real Women Real Voices “Where the People Meet the Policy”

September 23, 2016 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

A dialogue around incarceration with a focus on women: National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls and Yale Law School hold Real Women Real Voices Symposium



New Haven, CT Friday September 23rd, 2016 – “Real Women, Real Voices: Where the People Meet the Policy” a symposium organized by the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls and sponsored by nineteen organizations will take place at Yale Law School, Friday, September 23rd from 5:00-8:00PM. 

When: Friday, September 23rd, 2016 from 5:00pm – 8:00pm (Seating begins at 4:45pm)

Where: Yale Law School, Levinson Auditorium, 127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT


Register at http://www.realwomenrealvoices.eventbrite.com

Live Stream: https://yalelaw.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?tid=b297e1db-5493-4ef8-94dc-9fc8d3039bed


The “Real Women, Real Voices” symposium is a groundbreaking event focusing on the issues, concerns and needed changes affecting incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women. Four panels will feature currently and formerly incarcerated women discussing the affects of incarceration and the carceral state on themselves, their families and their communities. The Council is the first-ever national organization created and led by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and girls.



 Indiana State Women’s Prison via Video Conferencing 

With Jennifer Fleming, Sharon Collins, Kristina Byers-Escabado, Anastazia Schmid


Affects of Incarceration: Children & Family Panel


Second Chances: Clemency, Pardons & Compassionate Release


The Realities of Reentry: Reentry & Education




Topeka K. Sam, National Organizer, National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, Founder of The Ladies of Hope Ministries and a Justice-in-Education Scholar at Columbia University. Topeka is a formerly incarcerated woman. (Council Founding Member.)

Andrea James, a formerly incarcerated woman, Andrea is the Founding Director and Executive Director Families for Justice As Healing and The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerates Women and Girls. (Founder of the Council)

Fox Rich, nationally recognized speaker and formerly incarcerated woman, prisoner’s wife, mother of six sons focuses how mass incarceration is slavery and should be abolished.

Barbara Fair, MSW, Founder of CT-based My Brother’s Keeper and People Against Injustice.

Ebony Underwood, creative consultant, filmmaker and Soros Justice Fellow 2016 and daughter of an incarcerated parent.

Kyndia Riley, second year student at the University of Virginia, both of her parents are serving life sentences.

Miquelle West, celebrity fashion stylist living and working in Los Angeles, she is seeking freedom for her mother, Michelle West who is serving a life sentence.

Amy Povah received clemency from President Bill Clinton, award-winning filmmaker and President of the CAN-DO Foundation that advocates for justice through clemency. (Council Founding Member.)

Susan Rosenberg is a human rights and prisoner rights advocate, an adjunct professor, communications consultant, public speaker and formerly incarcerated woman. She is the author of American Radical which explores her 16 years in prison. (Council Founding Member.)

Ramona Brant was incarcerated for 21 years for a drug conspiracy charge.  She received clemency from President Obama in December 2015. Immediately after being released she began advocating for other women and had the honor, along and other formerly incarcerated women and men, of having lunch with President Obama.

Tirzah Kemp an advocate for justice reform, she is employed as a Program Administrator at the Clifton Beers Clinic in New Haven. She is a formerly incarcerated woman now working on obtaining her Masters in Social Work. In 2013, she received a full pardon from the State of Connecticut.

Phyllis “Grandma” Hardy is affectionately called the mother and grandmother by many women with whom she was incarcerated. After 23 years and 5 months, she returned to her family in Virginia on March 19, 2015. She tireless advocate for women and encourages them to use their voices for change. (Council Founding Member.)

Donna Hylton was incarcerated in New York for 27 years and is a prominent activist against mass incarceration, for an end to violence against women and for gender equality. She is the founder of From Life to Life. She has a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Mercy College. (Council Founding Member.)

Starlene Patterson is a licensed social worker and a formerly incarcerated woman. She is currently working for the NYC Department of Education as a Single Sheppard Social Worker providing support to underserved adolescents. (Council Founding Member.)

Syrita Steib-Martin is nationally certified and licensed Clinical Laboratory Scientist in the state of Louisiana. After serving 110 months in Federal Prison and upon being released, she returned to college and then founded Operation Restoration, working to assist women as they transition back home after incarceration. (Council Founding Member.)

Ivy Woolf-Turk is an ICF certified Professional Life Coach in private practice and the founder of Project Liberation. She served four years in Federal Prison and is now a motivational speaker on criminal justice issues. (Council Founding Member.)

Babz Rawls Ivy is Editor-In-Chief of the Inner City News in New Haven. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Barber Scotia College in North Carolina and a Master’s Degree from Baruch College, CUNY. She served a sentence in Federal prison. She is the adoptive mother of four children.

Beatrice Codianni is the managing editor of Re-Entry Central, a national website on issues regarding criminal justice and re-entry and serves on the community advisory board of the CT Bail Fund. Beatrice, who was incarcerated in Federal prison, is a staunch advocate for criminal justice reform with a focus on women’s issues. (Council Founding Member.)

Tiheba Bain is a senior at City College in New York City. She is a Justice-In-Education Scholar graduate of Columbia University. Tiheba is a formerly incarcerated woman and a mother of two.

 Indiana State Women’s Prison via Video Conferencing 

Jennifer Fleming, Sharon Collins, Kristina Byers-Escabado, Anastazia Schmid

Alice Johnson is currently incarcerated in Federal prison in Aliceville, AL.   Alice’s daughter, Tretessa started a petition on change.org and over 100,000 people have signed it. Her accomplishments include being ordained by proxy at God’s Millennium Women’s Conference, playwright, author, certified hospice volunteer and GED tutor.

Danielle Metz via Skype from New Orleans, LA who was just released from prison last week after receiving clemency from President Obama. Danielle served 23 years of a life sentence for a first offense.



The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls is a national network which supports the work of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and girls who are in the forefront of change of the criminal justice system by working individually or within organizations. Members support one another by sharing their knowledge and powerful experiences. Council members know firsthand the impact of the current criminal justice policies. We know the realities of incarceration, the many hurdles women face after returning home, and what changes are necessary to shift the system to one based on human dignity and social justice.

By bringing together policy makers, academics, researchers, and the public in dialogue with Council members, we strive to ensure that when policies, laws, practices, organizing and services about women and girls who are or were incarcerated are decided upon, our voices and ideas are included.  Our mantra is “Nothing about us, without us!” This is a big goal. We believe it is attainable. Through connecting with each other and freely sharing information, insights and strengths, we are creating opportunities to have our voices heard and collectively build new and just policies grounded in human rights.


Symposium Funders

The Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School, Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Institute for Municipal & Regional Policy (IMRP) at Central CT State University (CCSU)


Other Sponsors

Yale Black Men’s Union, American Constitution Society at Yale Law School, Green Haven Prison Project, National Lawyers Guild at Yale Law School, Civil Rights Project at Yale Law School, Yale Black Women’s Coalition, Black Law Students Association at Yale Law School, Latino/a Law Students Association at Yale Law School, Black Student Alliance, The Ladies of Hope Ministries, Reentry Central, Families for Justice As Healing, Operation Restoration, The Real Cost of Prisons Project, Can-Do Clemency, Project Liberation.
About the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls The Council held its first organizing meeting in New York City on December 2015. Since then, the Council has convened organizing meetings in New York City, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, Oakland and Chicago.  Council members live and work in more than 22 states. The Council actively engages currently incarcerated women and girls in federal and state prisons, county and state jails, and immigrant detention centers.


National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls


Yale Law School
127 Wall St
New Haven, CT 06511
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