The Stanford Criminal Justice Center at Stanford Law School is partnering with the award-winning journalist Rachel Louise Snyder (author of No Visible Bruises) to study the frequency with which women are imprisoned for killing their abusers. The research team will engage the following steps:
- Requesting the list of women serving current sentences for homicide from each state department of correction.
- Sending women serving current sentences for homicide a two-page survey asking questions about the circumstances of their current offense(s) and relevant intimate partner violence. Asking women to complete the survey and return it in a self-addressed stamped envelope. Assuring women that their responses will be kept confidential and giving them the choice to complete them anonymously.
- Analyzing and aggregating responses from returned surveys.
- Comparing results with data received from the National Violent Death Reporting System maintained by the Center for Disease Control and Intimate Partner Violence data collected by state departments of health. In addition, relying on court records and local press coverage to complement the results.
- Publishing results in academic journals and policy reports.
Collecting and making this data available will shed important light on the nature of the female correctional population, the largest growing segment of the U.S. prison population, and might guide policy discussions on charging, sentencing, prison programming, parole and reentry policies and decisions. The results may also inform laws regarding self-defense and other affirmative defenses, and strategies for addressing domestic violence.
Client: Rachel Louise Snyder, author of “No Visible Bruises”
Deliverables: Policy memos; census; final report