Evidence was not allowed “in” at their trials.


Five Keys Home Free is a call to action for convicted survivors in their successful transition back into our communities.

More than 100 women convicted of killing their batterers are expected to be paroled after serving unjust sentences in California prisons.


Five Keys Home Free is raising $1 million dollars to begin to provide transitional homes
(in NorCal and SoCal) and comprehensive services and support for women like Rosemary, Susan, LaVelma, Kelly, Brenda, and Crystal to be HOME FREE. As women are released after spending decades in prison, we will also provide gender- and trauma-responsive programs and services for the women as they enter into the 21st century to learn how to thrive in a world completely different from the one they left decades ago.


Until 1992, survivors of domestic violence convicted of killing their partners in self-defense, were not allowed to submit evidence of previous abuse into trial or at a parole hearing. In 2012, California Assembly Pro Temp, Fiona Ma, sponsored the “Sin by Silence” legislation to rectify the past. It was signed into law in 2013. Many convicted survivors are now allowed to introduce evidence of the brutality they endured. The parole board must now allow such evidence into a parole hearing and within a writ of habeas corpus, potentially reducing their often 20-40 year terms.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) did not anticipate the release of these “lifer”and “Life Without Parole (LWOP)” women. Consequently, CDCR has often released eligible survivors to residential drug treatment programs as the only alternative. Due to the changing legislation and duration of the sentences, the women are older and at the end of decades in our state prison system. Five Keys Home Free will collaborate with CDCR to provide programs that meet their needs and circumstances.

Imagine coming out of prison as a survivor of unspeakable domestic violence and wrongful imprisonment after 20 - 40 years. It’s unimaginable. Imagine trying to get a job and you’re told to do it online. You look for a line on the floor to stand in. You don’t know what an ATM is or a cell phone or how to “Google.”

FIVE KEYS HOME FREE will be the place where women survivors can be FREE of violence; FREE of institutionalization, FREE to feel safe, and FREE to determine their own future.

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ABOUT Five keys

Redefining the role of education in restoring communities.


Five Keys is leading Project HomeFree, a program seeking to create residential communities in San Francisco and Los Angeles providing access to life skills and survivor empowerment programs, as well as training and job placement. (Tax ID: 81-0622701).

On January 1, 1992 Battered Woman Syndrome became law.

Beginning January 1, 2002, Penal Code 1473.5 became law. California became the first state in the nation allowing domestic violence victims the chance to file a Writ of Habeas Corpus. The essential intent of the law was: anyone convicted prior to 1992 that was not afforded Expert Witness Testimony, and had they been allowed, the jury outcome would have been different than the current conviction. Many convictions were overturned under 1473.5 after years and decades. Many are in the process of being overturned. 

On January 1, 2005 the law allowed for women convicted in 1996 and earlier to file for relief with a Writ.


Get in touch

Feel free to drop us a line. We look forward to hearing from you.


Join us to support these women to live a life with dignity in the time they have left. HOME FREE needs financial assistance to launch, as well as support for residents. Please reach out to us if you have any questions about HOME FREE.

For Media:
Please send us an email at info@fivekeys.org

For Partnership:
Please send us an email at info@fivekeys.org

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