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Program keeping mothers and babies together behind bars resumes after ruling

The Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in Maple Ridge, B.C.

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

A program allowing women prisoners to keep their newborns with them while behind bars has resumed at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women.

B.C. Corrections says the Mother-Child Program complies with directions from the B.C. Supreme Court.

The revamped program includes an upgraded nursery, kitchen and child-bathing area, as well as child-friendly and age-appropriate toys and decorations.

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B.C. Corrections says the changes create a stimulating and appropriate environment for babies.

Several inmates won a Supreme Court judgment late last year that found the charter rights of women prisoners were violated when corrections officials cancelled a program allowing women prisoners to remain with their newborns.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association, which was an intervener in the case, says the court decided the charter protects the right of a mother to care for her baby and the Alouette Correctional Centre failed to respect the special role of women as caregivers when it arbitrarily cancelled the program.

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