The first-ever peer doula training program to support people who are incarcerated while pregnant has been launched by Chicago Volunteer Doulas with the incarcerated people at Logan Correctional Center-- the women's prison in Lincoln, Illinois. Facilitated by HealthConnect One, this groundbreaking training took place December 2019 at Logan and officially began CVD’s new program —the first of its kind in the nation!
What does a Peer Doula do?
Peer doulas will support their pregnant peers who are incarcerated during the difficult prenatal and postpartum experience in prison. CVD is committed to reducing the harm of incarceration on families caused by separation and isolation. This program is specifically designed to reduce feelings of isolation and to increase a sense of agency during such a vulnerable, yet powerful stage in their lives. Each of our newly minted peer doulas has also been matched with an experienced CVD doula to support and mentor them as they embark on this new journey. Additionally, this program will serve as potential workforce development; giving our peer doulas the opportunity to develop additional marketable skills to rely on upon release.
The Peer Doulas conceptualized this artwork to symbolize the program, which was then created by a roommate at Logan. Thank you, Bear for this beautiful piece which will now live in the pregnancy unit at Logan where the peer doulas will meet with their clients.
Who we are: Our peer doulas are volunteering for CVD while serving time at Logan Correctional Center. The peer doulas hobbies include reading, card games, bible study, dancing, yoga, and more. Many of the peer doulas are mothers themselves, and some have also given birth while in custody. These women have expressed that the program has already had a measurable impact in their lives and they have excitedly taken on their first clients with thoughtfulness and gratitude. They have much wisdom and insight to share with both CVD and their clients at Logan, and we are so thankful to be working with all of them!
Why CVD trains Peer Doulas:
In the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), 80% of the women incarcerated are mothers and primary caregivers who have been separated from their children and families, causing significant harm and trauma to both them and by extension their children and family. While we see that a much larger-scale systems change is needed to end this inhumane practice, we view our program as a small yet vital piece of harm reduction.
For questions or to learn more about this program please contact the Program Coordinator, Maggie Quinn at [email protected]