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.
Introducing: Ideas from the Trenches: The Resilience of Incarcerated Women
Ideas with Nahlah Ayed is a deep-dive into contemporary thought and intellectual history. No topic is off-limits. In this episode, you’ll hear from PhD student Rachel Fayter who was incarcerated for more than three years. She draws from her experience and the relationships she formed in jail to inform her ‘groundbreaking’ research into the resilience of criminalized women. More episodes of Ideas are available at smarturl.it/cbcideas
Episode 9: Legacy
Prison isn’t just painful for the person sent away. Rosemary left four children behind when she was locked up. She sits down with her two oldest twins for a difficult conversation about what her incarceration and absence was like for them. They talk about the challenges of being together after Rosemary’s release and learning to trust that she wasn’t going to leave them again.
Episode 8 : Surviving the Hole
The hole, the shoe, segregation. Whatever you call it, many human rights advocates consider solitary confinement a form of torture. Rosemary recounts her experience in solitary – what she describes as the most difficult moments of her life, and how the experience haunts her to this day.
Episode 7: The After Times, Part 2
Hard reality begins to set in for Diana as her home life starts to crumble. Mary’s hopes for freedom are derailed by her struggles with addiction.
Episode 6: The After Times, Part 1
Surviving a prison sentence is only half the battle. Getting out - and staying out - can be just as tough. Emily was a successful entrepreneur before she became a drug mule. Now that she’s out, she’s ready to start over with a new prison-inspired venture, but first she has to tackle her relationships with drugs, alcohol and men. Diana faces the challenge of healing her marriage and her family.
Episode 5: Inside and Indigenous
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 people to prison. And how for Indigenous offenders, finding a connection to their heritage is what may ultimately set them free.
I loved every episode thank you for sharing all the stories.
Thank you for sharing
I really appreciated the achievement you reached with exploring the dichotomy of both balanced reporting and the purely subjective painful emotional depletion of humanity that incarceration and isolation effects. Fantastic work.
Just want to say I appreciated this whole series! Rosemary you are a wonderful storyteller! Hope that you do another series of some sort!