British Columbia

B.C. prison babies born behind bars to stay with mothers

Women who have babies while in a B.C. prison will now be allowed to keep their newborns with them, because of a court order.

The B.C. government has reinstated a mother-child program at a womens' prison

Babies born in B.C. prison can stay with their mothers, after B.C. Government ordered by court to reinstate policy.

Women who have babies while in jail will now be allowed to keep their newborns with them in prison.

The province has re-established its Mother-Child Program at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, on orders from the British Columbia Supreme Court.

The B.C. government cancelled the Mother-Child Program at Alouette in 2008. 

But last year, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled the cancellation was a violation of the womens' Constitutional rights and ordered the Ministry of Justice to reinstate the program within six months.

B.C. Attorney General Suzanne Anton says revamped facilities to accommodate mothers and babies are ready.

"What we're aiming to achieve here is to foster that bonding between mom and child which is needed for the welfare of their relationship, going forward in life," said Anton.

Josh Paterson, the executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, which was an intervenor in the court case, say they will be watching the program closely to ensure the womens' constitutional rights are respected.


  • A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the program only applied to mothers with infants born in prison. The ministry has since indicated that the program actually applies to mothers with infants up to two years of age.
    Jun 18, 2014 9:39 AM PT

With files from Lisa Cordasco


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