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Life Jolt from CBC Podcasts released its first two episodes on Monday, April 26th. It’s a series that examines the lives and struggles of women navigating Canada’s correctional system and the obstacles to reintegration when they leave.
Hosted by former inmate Rosemary Green the majority of the series takes place in the Grand Valley Institution prison — the federal pen for women in Ontario as they followed women going into prison for the first time, spoke with lifers who have been there for years, and parolees as they left.
They explore a wide range of issues including parenting behind bars, segregation, the over-representation of Indigenous women, addiction, trauma, and the many obstacles of reintegration.
Green sums up the series in a sound-bite from the trailer, “in a way every prison sentence is a life sentence, it doesn’t really end when you get out.”
In an interview with the CBC, Green says she wanted to be a voice for those who were silenced because “there is so much shame and trauma and there shouldn’t be.”
She calls her release favor and says she told the women in prison that when she left she would be their advocate. She hopes that listeners’ takeaway from the series is that there is hope and if you “hold on to hope, nothing is impossible.”
Every sentence is a life sentence… you stole my line! I’ve been saying that for years. And it’s true: not only does a record disqualify people from countless jobs, people who get past that hurdle can find themselves held hostage by employers and associates who threaten to make bad reports to authorities if they don’t put up with mistreatment. The idea that people pay their debt to society and then are free is great in theory but seemingly rare in practice.