Isis Rising

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Did you know the number of mothers serving time in prison has more than doubled over the past two decades? Isis Rising is a prison-based pregnancy, birth, and parenting project that works with women serving time at the Shakopee Women’s Prison. The program includes individualized support for expectant incarcerated mothers along with a mothering group facilitated by our doulas, providing support during birth along with the education and skills mothers need to be stronger and more connected.

Isis Rising’s commitment to social change is illustrated in our six core beliefs:

  • We believe that we are all connected and that by supporting those in our community who are struggling the most we can better the quality of life for all.
  • We believe that all women deserve to make informed decisions about their bodies and their children.
  • We believe that all humans have the capacity to change, grow, and transform through the birth process.
  • We believe all women deserve the support of another woman at the time of her birth.
  • We believe that traditions of female labor support improve the outcomes of labor and delivery.
  • We believe that positive birth experiences contribute to improved bonding between mother and child and that this in turn reduces the likelihood of future abuse and neglect of that child.

Project Mission The mission of Isis Rising is to improve maternal and child health outcomes in the context of incarceration. Using evidence-informed practices, and employing a humanistic perspective, Isis Rising seeks to restore dignity and improve life skills with the goal of transforming prison experiences and improving the overall health of families and communities upon re-entry into their communities.

Project Expansion In 2013, we received generous support to expand services to incarcerated pregnant women at the Hennepin County Adult Correctional Facility and the Ramsey County Jail. We anticipate expanding services to other county jails as funds allow.

Community-University Research Partnership In partnership with Dr. Rebecca Shlafer (Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota), we are conducting ongoing research and evaluation of Isis Rising. In addition to collecting information from doulas and women about their experiences in the program, we are also assessing birth outcomes (e.g., delivery method, gestational age, birth weight). Our initial results indicate that doula care for incarcerated women may be a promising approach to improving maternal mental health and birth outcomes.  

Meet the Isis Rising doulas and staff:

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About our Name, Isis Rising: The Goddess Isis represents faithfulness, compassion, healing, and the power of restorative love. Her love for humanity and her compassion towards our sorrows offer hope after loss, and a promise to our spirits that there is strength in moving onward even in adversity. “Cease your tears now, for I have come to help you. I looked down and saw the sorrows of your life. All things will soon change for you, as under my watchful light your life is restored, renewed.”  (Patricia Monaghan)