Reach in with Art--Struggle with Heart
#DropLWOP: End Life Without Possibility of Parole Sentencing

Session 1 | 12:00 PM - 1:30PM

Session 2 | 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Room 2326 | UCLA School of Law


It all started when…

Approximately 5,200 people are serving Life Without Parole (LWOP) sentences in California state prisons. About 200 of them are incarcerated in California’s prisons for women.

The majority of people serving LWOP in California women’s prisons are survivors of abuse (intimate partner violence, child abuse, sexual violence, and trafficking) and people with no prior convictions. People of color are disproportionately sentenced to LWOP.

This workshop introduces participants to people serving LWOP through CCWP’s art-based campaign, A Living Chance, and will engage them in a collaborative creative project that can serve as a tool in the movement to end LWOP.


Susan Bustamante

Susan Bustamante was released from the California Institution for Women (CIW) on September 12, 2018, after serving 31 years of a life without parole sentence. Her sentence was commuted by Governor Brown in December 2017 and she was granted parole in June 2018. Susan is a mother of two and a grandmother of six. In prison, Susan was actively involved in many groups, including as an original member of Convicted Women Against Abuse, a group for survivors of domestic violence. She was a collaborator in the A Living Chance Storytelling Project while incarcerated and continues to advocate for those still serving Life without Parole (LWOP) as a California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) member.

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Candace Chavez Wilson

Candace Chavez Wilson is the wife of an incarcerated man named Taewon Wilson who was sentenced to LWOP in 1994 and granted a commutation in Dec 2018. She is an advocate and activist for criminal justice reform specifically as it pertains to life sentences. She is a member of Families United to End LWOP (FUEL) and CCWP. She is an Essie Justice Sister (LA cohort) and a member of the Los Angeles Re-Entry Program. She also holds a BA from Cal State University Fullerton and volunteers with Project Rebound at CSUF.


Deirdre Wilson

Deirdre Wilson is a formerly incarcerated person currently working with Social Model Recovery Systems, Inc. as a counselor for formerly incarcerated men receiving co-occurring diagnosis treatment. As a member of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners she has provided legal advocacy and support for women and transgender people in CA women’s prisons since 2010.

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Brian Kaneda is the Development and Media Coordinator for Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) and a member of California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) Los Angeles. He has spent the past five years monitoring, challenging and exposing the abusive conditions inside women’s prisons and advocating for the rights of incarcerated people. He visits women and transgender prisoners in CA women’s prisons as a legal advocate on behalf of CCWP.

Chisa Hughes

Chisa Hughes started advocacy work with California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) in 2016. She is humbled by the long history of organizing and resistance (from within prison walls and extending outward) that the group’s work is built on.