Massachusetts

In 2017, Prison Birth Project (PBP) continued their partnership with the local women’s jail by offering childbirth education and full-spectrum doula support for incarcerated people who are pregnant, using the reproductive justice framework. The organization also raised awareness of the experiences of incarcerated parents through their #MamasDayAcrossBars campaign and developed strategies to share their expertise and lessons learned with organizations that engage in similar work across the country. NIRH is proud to have partnered with PBP since 2014, working on the passage and implementation of Massachusetts’ 2014 anti-shackling policy. In 2016, Prison Birth Project (Holyoke, MA) continued their advocacy and outreach efforts to advance member leadership and strengthen relationships with allies in the Holyoke community. PBP members presented critical, emotional testimony on their personal experiences with shackling, prompting multiple meetings with members from Attorney General’s office who have promised to advise the Dept. of Corrections to adhere to the statutes. In 2016, PBP sought to recruit new members for their parent leadership and organizing group. After seeing low turnout initially, PBP changed their strategy and recruited in residential programs, where parents are already gathered. In 2015 the Prison Birth Project, with the support of the National Institute, worked to ensure implementation of a Massachusetts state law that prohibits the shackling of pregnant and incarcerated women through pregnancy, labor, delivery, and recovery including the development of a Know Your Rights campaign for incarcerated women. They also created a pilot organizing group of mothers and trans parents who are formerly incarcerated or at increased risk of incarceration to engage affected community members in stregthening protections for incarcerated people. This project was conducted in partnership with Prisoners' Legal Services, a fellow National Institute partner.