Justice Involved Victim/Survivor Series

Beginning in October 2021, Violence Free Minnesota kicked off a yearlong series about Justice Involved Victim/Survivor Series 

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Belly of the Beast Film Screening & Discussion

Presenters: Kelli Dillon, Marissa Alexander

Facilitator: Kenosha Davenport

OCTOBER 27, 2021


The film exposes a series of statewide crimes in the California prison system - from inadequate health care to sexual assault to coercive sterilizations - primarily targeting women of color. Captured over 7-years, the film features extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated people, demanding attention to a shameful and ongoing legacy of eugenics and reproductive injustice in the United States.

Impact of Revocation for Technical Violations

on Victim/Survivors

Presenters: Will Cooley, Decarcerate MN; Terry Forliti, Breaking Free

NOVEMBER 29, 2021



Violence Free Minnesota Staff, Will Cooley (Decarcerate MN), and Terry Forliti (Breaking Free) discuss the campaign to end the practice of sending people to jail/prison for probation and parole violations. Bring your questions and come to listen and learn about the impact of revocation on victim/survivors in Minnesota and beyond.

Building Relationships Across the Walls

Presenters: Women's Prison Book Project, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee,

Minnesota Prison Writers Workshop, and Black & Pink Twin Cities

DECEMBER 15, 2021


Violence Free Minnesota staff, and volunteers from Women’s Prison Book Project, Black & Pink Twin Cities, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, and more discuss how to build relationships with individuals who are incarcerated to inform our work to end violence in Minnesota.

When Survivors are Criminalized, Part I

Presenters: National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women

JANUARY 27, 2022


Every day, victims of intimate partner violence are arrested and incarcerated, often because their survival strategies are criminalized. Cindene Pezzell and Quetita Cavero from the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women lead this two-part series.

In part 1, participants will learn about how and why survivors are criminalized; the risks they face while navigating the criminal legal system, and their tremendous need for advocacy and support at all stages of their cases.

Unpacking the Power of Prosecutors in SV/DV Situations

Presenters: VERA Institute of Justice

FEBRUARY 23, 2022


Prosecutors wield tremendous power in the criminal legal system and have significant discretion over critical decisions in the life of a case, including charging, bail, plea bargaining, discovery, and sentencing. In recent years, communities across the U.S. have organized to increase prosecutor accountability and draw attention to the prosecutor's office as a “black box,” calling for transparency regarding prosecutorial discretion and how it is employed to contribute to or combat racial disparities as well as better serve survivors’ agency, autonomy, and honor & heed calls for alternative responses. Join this training to learn more about the power of prosecutors and the different decision points they preside over in instances of domestic violence and sexual violence. Examples of questions we will explore include: How do prosecutors make decisions about charging or not charging a case? How do prosecutors make recommendations about recommending someone’s release pre-trial, or requesting bail? And what legal obligations do prosecutors have when working with SV/DV survivors, according to MN state statutes?

Presenters: The Vera Institute is a national non-profit dedicated to fighting incarceration in local communities through data-driven analysis and engagements with system stakeholders. The Vera Institute’s Reshaping Prosecution is an initiative working with reform-minded prosecutors’ offices across the U.S. in implementing three goals: ending mass incarceration, addressing racial disparities, and building prosecutors offices’ accountability and transparency to the communities they serve.

Advocacy Services for Sexual Assault Victims in Jail & Prison

Presenters: Ashley Sturz, MNCASA

March 29, 2022



Join MNCASA as we discuss how the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) can be a tool for community-based advocates who want to provide services for victims/survivors in custody. We will introduce PREA and talk about how advocacy services can be provided to victims/survivors in custody, regardless of when and where they experienced sexual violence.


Ashley Sturz has worked in the anti-sexual violence field in numerous contexts. As the Advocacy Support Specialist at MNCASA, Ashley strives to create space for the amazing anti-sexual violence advocates across Minnesota to learn, connect, and grow.

National technical assistance providers: