Presentation Title

Raising an Infant in a Jumpsuit: Canada’s Need for a More Contemporary Approach to Prison Nurseries

Presenter Information

Kelsey Arnouse

Location

IB 1008

Start Date

19-3-2016 11:15 AM

End Date

19-3-2016 11:30 AM

Abstract

The purpose of my presentation is to address the complex problem of pregnant incarcerated women and what to do with their newborns. The rate of women imprisoned has risen substantially in recent decades in Canada and elsewhere, and with this increase a new question has arisen: What to do when a woman enters the justice system pregnant? Prison nurseries vary around the world; each country has its own criteria for participants. There is substantial research literature that suggests prison nurseries are very positive; they lower rates of reincarnation for the mothers, build stronger attachment between mother and baby and there is reduced risk to the baby’s physical health while in the nursery. However there exists a strong argument against the nurseries pertaining to what happens to the babies whose mothers reoffend. They had been allowed to create a strong attachment to their mother only for it to be broken. Although a break in attachment can be detrimental to a child it is my argument that both mother and child have the right to a prison nursery. There is very little research done in this important area of study in a Canadian context, so my project aims to provide an examination of the existing research, begin to apply it to the Canadian system, and suggest possibilities for future research.

Department

English and Modern Languages

Faculty Advisor

Jan Duerden

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Mar 19th, 11:15 AM Mar 19th, 11:30 AM

Raising an Infant in a Jumpsuit: Canada’s Need for a More Contemporary Approach to Prison Nurseries

IB 1008

The purpose of my presentation is to address the complex problem of pregnant incarcerated women and what to do with their newborns. The rate of women imprisoned has risen substantially in recent decades in Canada and elsewhere, and with this increase a new question has arisen: What to do when a woman enters the justice system pregnant? Prison nurseries vary around the world; each country has its own criteria for participants. There is substantial research literature that suggests prison nurseries are very positive; they lower rates of reincarnation for the mothers, build stronger attachment between mother and baby and there is reduced risk to the baby’s physical health while in the nursery. However there exists a strong argument against the nurseries pertaining to what happens to the babies whose mothers reoffend. They had been allowed to create a strong attachment to their mother only for it to be broken. Although a break in attachment can be detrimental to a child it is my argument that both mother and child have the right to a prison nursery. There is very little research done in this important area of study in a Canadian context, so my project aims to provide an examination of the existing research, begin to apply it to the Canadian system, and suggest possibilities for future research.