Jail Baby Sparks Dialogue

Jail Baby has been a long-term project for Sarasvàti Productions. It has meant three years of working with women in correctional institutions, undertaking interviews with those who work in corrections and justice, meeting with families of criminalized women and consulting with numerous groups such as restorative justice providers and victims groups. Our goal is to explore all facets of each story we choose to tell on stage and this means a need to reach out to community groups, individuals and organizations who work with the issues on a daily basis. Winnipeg is an amazing city due to its large number of volunteers, social agencies and organizations that work tirelessly to improve the community in which we live. It is our honour to work alongside them.

As part of our goal to use theatre to increase human understanding, we want Jail Baby to spark an important dialogue about how we balance the need for community safety with the complex factors behind criminal activity. We are very inspired by many of the people we have had the pleasure to talk to thus far and pleased to be hosting a series of post-show panels to allow the audience to participate in a timely and much needed dialogue. Panels will run after performances from May 17 to 25. Each panel will include three speakers who can share information about different topics explored in the play and from different perspectives. We are hoping for a healthy debate. Our panels will cover topics including:

  • What are the connections between being poor and marginalized and ending up incarcerated?
  • How do we find the balance between safety/security and justice in Canada?
  • What are the challenges in finding a stable foster home for children when their parents are incarcerated?
  • Why is there such a high correlation between being aboriginal, incarcerated and having a substance abuse problem?
  • Will building more prisons solve our problems and make our communities safer?
  • What are the needs of women when released and what programs are available?
  • Why do so many women cycle in and out of the system, from foster care, to juvenile detention to adult correctional facilities? Is there a revolving door?
  • What is the focus of the Canadian correctional system?
  • How can we move towards a restorative/healing model in work with criminalized women?

Let us know which question concerns you the most.

We are pleased to have representatives from the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg; Elizabeth Fry Society of Manitoba; Mediation Services; Sage House; Transition, Education Resources for Females (New Directions) and Voices – Manitoba’s Youth in Care; as well as north end activist Michael Champagne, lawyer Amanda Sansregret and Associate Professor Debra Parkes (University of Manitoba Faculty of Law). Further panelists are still being confirmed.

Tickets are now available for the show and check out our website in early May for full details on the panel schedule. In the meantime, check out the promo video by the fabulous Jordan Popowich:

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