Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Stacey Hannem

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


As more people come under the direct or indirect control of the carceral nation state, it is important to analyze those systems and bodies that contribute to its construction and conservation. Moreover, it is necessary to assess the ability of these social institutions to meet the needs of the individuals under their supervision, as well as to establish a standard of care to which operators of jails, prisons, and other carceral facilities may be held accountable. Criminalized women represent an acutely marginalized segment of the prison population whose distinct gendered needs have been habitually overlooked. The present study aims to better understand the experiences and needs of incarcerated women across Canada, with a particular focus on the unique lived realities of pregnant and post–natal prisoners. This research project provides an in–depth case study and qualitative analysis of one first–time mother’s journey through the Canadian criminal justice and penal systems, as well as the subsequent systemic responses and framing of her experience. The dominant themes that emerged through a qualitative interview with Julie Bilotta and an analysis of all publicly available documents related to her case include (but are not limited to): state regulation of marginalized women and motherhood, institutional and interpersonal power relations, and notions of public transparency and institutional accountability. Finally, the study’s findings are situated within the context of broader socioeconomic and political trends that intersect to shape the lived realities of criminalized and incarcerated women and mothers across Canada and elsewhere.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season