Bonding through Bars

Through an international symposium in Canada, this project will set a research agenda to explore prisons as environmental health settings for children of incarcerated mothers. The goal of the project is to improve the intergenerational health outcomes of both incarcerated mothers and their children and to also explore human rights through a settings-based approach. The project team has already identified several funding opportunities and an advisory team in support of this project.


BTB LogoProject Updates (in their own words):

March 2013 -Thanks to generous funding provided by the Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies, on May 5th, 2013, 20 delegates from five different continents will come to UBC in Vancouver to engage in a six day intensive roundtable entitled: Bonding Through Bars. Our purpose is to explore the health and human rights of incarnated women and their children, and to develop an action plan. The state of Canada’s prison, legal and child welfare system will be at the forefront of this dialogue and the International Roundtable is a prime opportunity to influence decision making in Canada on the laws, policies and programs that affect these families and our communities as a whole.

Honoured delegates include pioneering international visionaries such as Pushpa Basnet (founder of Butterfly home Nepal and 2012 CNN hero of the year), Chesa Boudin (author, lawyer, Rhodes Scholar and child rights expert), Sharon Content (founder of Children of Promise) and activist, Sharon McIvor who successfully challenged the Federal Government to amend the Indian Act, (the “McIvor” amendments). To maximize the reach of this unprecedented week, we are launching a strong media campaign, including press events, a public film screening as part of the DOXA film festival and documentary interviews.

Children growAs part of our EqKT mandate, we formed a planning circle made up of mothers with lived prison experience and their children. The planning circle meets once a month and offers us direction and sets priorities for the upcoming roundtable. They will be working with our delegates during the roundtable to protect the health and bond between incarcerated mothers and their children. We have also applied for funding to make a feature length international documentary on incarcerated mothers as seen through the eyes of their children. Again, following our EqKT mandate, we will be using some filmmakers who are mothers with lived prison experience and we will also be holding international participatory arts workshops so that the children of incarcerated mothers can use video and visual arts to tell their own stories.

For more information on the International Roundtable for Bonding through Bars, click here.