Sophie Lachapelle

IMG_2179MSc Health Promotion Studies, School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University

I was born in Kingston, Ontario and grew up just down the road in Trenton. I returned to Kingston in 2014 to pursue an undergraduate degree at Queen’s University. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Health Studies and Global Development Studies, the last two years of which I worked at the Centre for Environmental of Health Equity (CEHE), I decided to continue my studies at Queen’s. I am now in the first year of my Master’s of Science in Health Promotion under the supervision of Dr. Jeff Masuda.

My research examines the prison-community interface – the movement of formerly incarcerated people from prison into the local community. As a prison hub of Canada, Kingston is surrounded by six federal penitentiaries and two provincial correctional facilities. Although prisons are often considered as geographically, politically, and socially separate from our communities, the health consequences of these institutions are significant, as many incarcerated people will ultimately spend time reintegrating into the local community upon release. Yet, this reintegration system, and therefore incarceration as a social determinant of health, is not a recognized priority for local public health authorities. I want to know why Public Health does not recognize prisons, incarceration experiences, and reintegration as a determinant for individual and collective health and well-being, especially in a prison town like Kingston. Furthermore, I wanted to know what are the consequences are of such an oversight. My undergraduate research sought to answer these questions from the perspective of service providers. I intend to continue this examination of the prison-community interface from the perspective of formerly incarcerated people in my Master’s project.

My other research interests include carceral geography, housing equity, and policy silences. CEHE fosters an incredibly enriching environment in which to study and I am very fortunate to be a part of such a dedicated research team.