Dr. Jill McCorkel

Founder & Executive Director

Dr. Jill McCorkel is an award-winning Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Villanova University. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book on women’s prisons, Breaking Women: Gender, Race, and the New Politics of Imprisonment. Her research on gender, violence, and mass incarceration appears in leading scientific journals and has been featured in a variety of news outlets including Boston Globe, Washington Post, SalonAssociated Press, The Conversation, and Public Radio International


Throughout her career, Dr. McCorkel has provided pro bono assistance to incarcerated men and women on petitions for commutation and parole, as well as offered research and expert testimony in criminal and civil cases and appellate matters. 

In 2020 Dr. McCorkel launched the Philadelphia Justice Project for Women & Girls to combat the growing crisis of violence & incarceration in the lives of women and girls. The organization’s advocacy work has received coverage in The Nation, The Philadelphia Inquirer, KYW News In Depth, and was recently featured in the popular true crime podcast, Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom and Maggie Freleng. 


Dr. McCorkel is a graduate of Bucknell University. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in sociology from the University of Delaware. 

Inside Advisers


We believe that incarcerated women and girls are experts in understanding and diagnosing problems associated with gender violence and mass incarceration. Their insights and analyses are necessarily critical for building a democratic, equitable, and restorative legal system that advances gender and racial justice. We are committed to a model of collaborative advocacy that centers and amplifies their voices. We utilize a network of Inside Advisors—all of whom are currently incarcerated—to serve as representatives of women incarcerated in Pennsylvania prisons and jails. Our advocacy efforts are directly informed by the work of our Inside Advisors.  


We have a small but mighty roster of volunteers with a diverse range of talents, skills, and experiences. Our volunteers contribute what they can, when they can, to assist in a variety of ways to build our organization and advance our mission to end the mass incarceration of women and girls. We have attorneys, web designers, social media mavens, researchers, justice impacted family members, teachers, organizers, photographers, and artists on our team.

Undergraduate Chapter at Villanova University

Still We Rise Freedom

We host an undergraduate chapter at Villanova University. Students in our undergraduate chapter receive training in research-informed advocacy, gender and racial justice, legal systems, and political organizing. Our student members perform a variety of important tasks including hosting events on campus designed to raise awareness and mobilize support around key issues and cases. Members of our undergraduate chapter are eligible to apply for our summer internship program. Summer interns receive additional training, mentoring, and opportunities for hands-on work on specific cases and research projects. 

We are a proud member of the Philadelphia-based Still We Rise Freedom Coalition (formerly, Incarcerated Women’s Working Group). The Coalition advocates with and on behalf of women and trans and gender non-conforming people who are currently or formerly incarcerated. 


Support & Funding

Most of our funding comes from the financial support of individual donors. We receive institutional support from Villanova University and grant funding from the Gender Justice Fund. We are so grateful for the support. We literally could not do this work without it. 

If you would like to support our work, you can make a donation here. All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.