May 27, 2013 - 11:35 AM
27-May-2013 9:56 AM
VANCOUVER - B.C. Supreme Court will begin a case today that determines whether mothers in prison will be allowed to care for their babies.
A constitutional challenge was filed by five women and two babies five years ago when a program that allowed infants to remain with their incarcerated mothers was cancelled at Maple Ridge's Alouette Correctional Centre for Women.
The plaintiffs argue that the cancellation of the Mother-Baby Program discriminates against female prisoners and infringes upon their babies' rights to security because it forces the infants to be placed in temporary care away from their mothers.
B.C.'s attorney general and solicitor general, as well as the warden of the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, will argue the program was cancelled for the babies' safety, and that its termination has violated no rights.
They say during the time that infants stayed at the centre, inmates put their babies in danger by leaving them unattended, or by getting involved with drugs or in fights while the babies were present.
The hearing is expected to run until late June.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2013