Mr. Speaker, this week is National Elizabeth Fry Week and a time to reflect upon the principles that Elizabeth Fry held regarding the treatment of prisoners and their families. We also remember her accomplishments in reforming the prison system of her time.
The majority of female prisoners are the sole caregivers of their families at the time of their arrest. These mothers, during their incarceration, become unable to support their children nor can they even visit with them on a regular basis. Children are sentenced by association when their mothers are jailed.
I am calling on the government to examine this unfortunate situation. It is time we recognized that mother-child separation is a harmful practice with consequences that extend to future generations.
It is time that we take a page from the book of Elizabeth Fry and take steps to reform the system. We must not punish the children of our society for the actions of their parents but provide alternatives that are more understanding to the needs of all involved.