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Life Jolt

CBC Podcasts & Radio On-Demand

Life Jolt — prison slang for a life sentence — examines the lives of women navigating Canada’s correctional system. Our team gained unprecedented access to the Grand Valley Institution prison — the federal pen for women in Ontario — for a full year. We followed women going into prison for the first time, spoke with lifers who have been there for years, and parolees as they left. Hosted by Rosemary Green, a former inmate herself, Life Jolt focuses on individual women’s stories and the realities of prison life, and explores a wide range of issues including parenting behind bars, segregation, the over-representation of Indigenous women, addiction, trauma and the many obstacles of reintegration.

Life Jolt — prison slang for a life sentence — examines the lives of women navigating Canada’s correctional system. Our team gained unprecedented access to the Grand Valley Institution prison — the federal pen for women in Ontario — for a full year. We followed women going into prison for the first time, spoke with lifers who have been there for years, and parolees as they left. Hosted by Rosemary Green, a former inmate herself, Life Jolt focuses on individual women’s stories and the realities of prison life, and explores a wide range of issues including parenting behind bars, segregation, the over-representation of Indigenous women, addiction, trauma and the many obstacles of reintegration.

Location:

United States

Description:

Life Jolt — prison slang for a life sentence — examines the lives of women navigating Canada’s correctional system. Our team gained unprecedented access to the Grand Valley Institution prison — the federal pen for women in Ontario — for a full year. We followed women going into prison for the first time, spoke with lifers who have been there for years, and parolees as they left. Hosted by Rosemary Green, a former inmate herself, Life Jolt focuses on individual women’s stories and the realities of prison life, and explores a wide range of issues including parenting behind bars, segregation, the over-representation of Indigenous women, addiction, trauma and the many obstacles of reintegration.

Language:

English


Episodes

Episode 5: Indigenous on the Inside

5/17/2021
Indigenous people account for five percent of Canada’s population, yet indigenous inmates make up 30 percent of the country’s federal prison system. For indigenous women, the number jumps up 42%. We share the stories of Chance and Alison, whose experiences illustrate how decades of intergenerational trauma lead women to prison. And how for indigenous offenders, finding a connection to their heritage is what may ultimately set them free.

Duration:00:45:09

Episode 4: Parenting from the Pen

5/10/2021
Prison can be especially difficult for mothers. They struggle with separation and guilt as their kids are raised by grandparents, partners, exes or worse - by strangers. Melissa was staring down a three-year sentence with a baby only weeks away. She thought the child welfare system was her only option until she learned about a program that allows mothers to raise their children in prison.

Duration:00:44:29

Episode 3: The Loop

5/3/2021
For repeat offenders like Mary, the criminal justice system can feel like a never-ending loop. It’s a cycle of crime and incarceration rooted in poverty, addiction and trauma. Mary learns how prison can feel inevitable when small mistakes carry enormous consequences.

Duration:00:33:46

Episode 1: The Before Times

4/26/2021
The road to prison begins with a period of uncertainty and dread – the time between arrest and sentencing. It’s before your day in court, before you've been convicted or acquitted. First time prisoner Diana learns that if you’re lucky you get bail, and if you don’t, the wait can be excruciating.

Duration:00:36:32

Episode 2: Welcome to Grand Valley

4/26/2021
Grand Valley Institution is the federal penitentiary for women in Ontario, and it’s where first time prisoners Diana and Emily will serve their time. It’s where they learn the ropes of prison life and begin personal reckonings about the paths and choices that brought them here.

Duration:00:44:59

Introducing: Life Jolt

4/1/2021
Life Jolt — prison slang for a life sentence — brings you the lives of women navigating Canada’s correctional system. Host Rosemary Green, who spent five years in prison herself, guides us through tough issues like solitary confinement, parenting on the inside and the over-representation of Indigenous people in Canada's prisons. She takes us inside a federal penitentiary in Ontario, where we get unprecedented access to the inmates who call it home.

Duration:00:02:20