Child Apprehensions in BC Correctional Facilities

This paper adopts the position that any state practice which separates a child from his or her parent as a result of incarceration, and which does not provide for the maintenance of the parent-child relationship, undermines the goal of protecting the family as a core unit of our society. The psychological and developmental harm caused to a child as a result of separation from his/her primary caregiver and the interference with the liberty interests of the parent are unwarranted as a mere result of criminal behaviour. In particular, the decision to terminate the mother-child program at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women (ACCW) in April 2008 (a development which has resulted in the apprehension of infants from their mothers) infringes the liberty interests of incarcerated mothers, and does not take into consideration the best interests of the affected children. References to parental liberty interests in this paper refer collectively to a parent’s right to raise and make decisions for one’s own child, and to be free from the psychological harm caused by the apprehension of a child. Each of these parental rights have been recognized by Canadian Courts as being included in the right to life, liberty and security of the person protected under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. We believe that the decision to deprive single mothers of the possibility of residing with their infant children while incarcerated is inconsistent with the values underlying the BC Child Family and Community Services Act [CFCSA] and the interests reflected in the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Canadian Charter.

Read the full position paper here