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Babies-in-prison program prompted few safety concerns, warden tells court

May 28, 2013 - 2:32 PM

VANCOUVER - A former warden who oversaw a cancelled program that allowed babies to stay with their imprisoned mothers says she recalls very few safety problems when she was part of the program.

Brenda Tole says the safety protocol for the Mother-Baby Program at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women was extensive, and she remembers only incidents that were quickly dealt with by staff.

Tole says one involved a mother who appeared to be rocking her baby too hard while talking to another woman, but the mother was told to stop and the baby was not hurt in any way.

In another instance, a baby was choking on something and an ambulance was called while a staff member scooped the object out of the baby’s mouth and cleared the child's airways.

Tole is testifying in B.C. Supreme Court, where two former female inmates are posing a constitutional challenge against the province’s solicitor general, saying the cancellation of the Mother-Baby Program violated their right to personally care for their babies while in prison.

The solicitor general has said the program was cancelled because it was not safe for the babies to be living at the corrections centre with their mothers.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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