Mother’s Day is just a few days away. It can be a complicated day. For some, it could mean a bouquet of flowers or a breakfast in bed. For others, it can mean mourning the loss of a loved one or dealing with a haunted past. And still — for others — like the 66 per cent of incarcerated women in prison who are mothers, it can mean something else entirely.
Despite a reduction in crime in the last 20 years in Canada, many women attempting to make ends meet for their families end up colliding with the prison system.
In Canada, women’s prisons are filling up. In fact, the fastest-growing prison population in Canada is racialized women. More than one in three women in federal custody are Indigenous. And the percentage of South Asian women and African Canadian women in custody is also disproportionately high.
One of the reasons the women’s prison population is rising, experts say, is poverty.
Amidst a financial downturn and ballooning economic inequality, criminalizing attempts at survival is staggering. And the effects on families is devastating.
Adding to this is the complexity that 87 percent of all women in federal prisons in Canada have experienced physical or sexual abuse and many also live with mental health issues.
On this episode of Don’t Call Me Resilient, we are joined by Rai Reece, a sociologist at Toronto Metropolitan University who researches prisons and feminist criminology. Lorraine Pinnock also joins us. She is the Ontario Coordinator for the Walls to Bridges program which helps women with education when transitioning out of the system. It’s a transition she has made herself. In 2011, Lorraine was incarcerated at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ont. She has two children.
Table of Contents
Listen and Follow
Carceral Redlining: White Supremacy is a Weapon of Mass Incarceration for Indigenous and Black Peoples in Canada (Policy Brief: Yellowhead Institute Report) by Rai Reece
What Is Abolition Feminism and Why Do We Need It Now? (Nonprofit Quarterly)
Patricia Hill Collins: Reconceiving Motherhood by Kaila Adia Story
“Wholistic and Ethical: Social Inclusion with Indigenous Peoples” by Kathleen Absolon
“University-prison partnership brings hope to incarcerated learners” by Bruno Vompean (University Affairs)
Advocates’ perspectives on the Canadian prison mother child program (Qualitative Research in Health)
From the archives – in The Conversation