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  • Writer's pictureNBWJI

Statement on Chrystul Kizer plea deal

Last month, Chrystul Kizer took a plea deal in a case that began when, at the age of 17, she, a Black girl, killed the 34-year-old white man who had sexually assaulted her.


Wisconsin’s Supreme Court had previously ruled that Kizer could use a Wisconsin law intended to protect trafficking victims as part of her defense. That 2008 law shields trafficking victims from being punished for crimes committed as a direct result of having been trafficked.


Chrystul Kizer is a child sex-trafficking victim and survivor. She is now facing up to 20 years in prison for surviving.

The National Black Women’s Justice Institute released the following statement from Executive Director Dr. Sydney McKinney:


The reality is that there is an abuse-to-incarceration pipeline in the United States that overwhelmingly impacts Black women and girls. We have a criminal-legal system in which Chrystul Kizer and too many other girls like her are punished for surviving abuse, exploitation, and gender-based violence.


“Courts across the country criminalize Black women and girls for surviving abuse and sexual violence. Survivors need support accessing healing services, not punishment. Yet, too many are punished and incarcerated for actions they take to survive. NBWJI does not condone violence of any kind, but we hold firm that incarceration serves no one and cannot address the trauma that criminalized survivors bear.

"Incarceration only worsens and intensifies the harm, mimicking the coercive control and loss of bodily autonomy that sex trafficking survivors experience at the hands of traffickers. Sending Chrystul Kizer to prison for any amount of time is the wrong decision; it will not heal anyone and will only cause more harm.


“The response of the prosecutor involved in this case is disappointing, infuriating, and unacceptable, yet unsurprising. Whether states have laws on the books or not, we need prosecutors and judges to have deep compassion for survivors and to use their discretion to opt for healing-centered alternatives instead of punishment for girls like Chrystul Kizer, who was a child in an impossible situation fighting for her life.


“We must end the criminalization of survivors of sex abuse, assault, and exploitation.  We must believe Black women and girls. We must respect, value, and honor the voices and humanity of Black women and girls.”



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