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Prison Birth Project records

Identifier: SSC-MS-00728

Scope and Contents

The records of the Prison Birth Project are comprised of administrative files such as correspondence, meeting minutes, organizational planning, financial records, grant and fundraising materials, annual reports; as well as materials documenting the organization's events and program planning; worshops and advocacy work for incarcerated women and their families; publicity; publications and ephemera related to midwifery and the Prison Birth Project; as well as website and social media content. Of particular interest are materials related to doula training, breastfeeding and childbirth education, and support groups for incarcerated women and their families; and the records related to the organization's work on anti-shackling legislation. There are also a large number of digital photos and video of PBP events. Photos and videos include Doula training, Anti-Shackling training, the annual Mother's Day/Mama's Day, and Solidarity Supper.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1993 - 2018


Language of Materials

English, Spanish

Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveat:

At the direction of the donor, records that identify the names and contact information of Prison Birth Project clients shall be restricted from research use until the year 2033. After that time and until the year 2068, researchers must sign an access agreement, stating they will not reveal the names and personal information of Prison Birth Project clients. Marianne Bullock, Lisa Andrews, and Marisa Pizii, as former Prison Birth Project leaders, may be permitted to access restricted records before they are available for general research.

At the direction of the collection steward, materials that include the names and contact information of financial donors to the PBP are closed until 2033.

Box 9 contains moldy materials. This box is closed to research, until the materials can be cleaned or digitized.

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that they own copyright, the donors have assigned the copyright in their organization's works to Smith College; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U.S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by the Prison Birth Project, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

The Prison Birth Project was founded in 2008 by Lisa Andrews and Marianne Bullock (Smith College Class of 2014), with the goal of bringing bring doula care to incarcerated women. Lisa was a social justice educator who had supported incarcerated loved ones, and Marianne was a doula who had been incarcerated. In 2011, the Western Massachusetts-based organization transformed itself into a collective, adopting a leadership circle that operated by consensus. Their services included doula and breastfeeding support, childbirth education, and advocacy for incarcerated women and their families.

The organization closed its doors in 2017, citing "large systems of power" and the lack of "the kind of support we need to become the sustainable organization we envision." Among their successes, the Prison Birth Project states that they, "supported over 300 incarcerated people during pregnancy and postpartum and built leadership with over 225 incarcerated parents. Our doulas have attended over 60 births. We helped to pass the landmark Massachusetts legislation ending shackling of pregnant and laboring incarcerated people and monitored successful implementation of new standards." Their projects were distributed to other organizations and practices documented for future use and education.

[sources: PBP Website ]


11.358 linear feet (18 containers)

136.25 Gigabytes (11,543 digital files)


The Prison Birth Project (2008-2017) worked to "support, encourage, and train currently and formerly incarcerated mothers and trans* parents to become community leaders within a reproductive justice framework." The records include administrative files, program and event planning materials, forms, newsletters and other publications related to midwifery and the Prison Birth Project. Of particular interest are photos and videos of various events, curriculum materials related to Doula training; and records related to the organization's work on anti-shackling legislation.


This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

As a preservation measure, researchers must use digital copies of audiovisual materials in this collection. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request the creation of and access to digital copies.

This collection contains materials received from the donor in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Marianne Bullock (2014-2018), Lisa Andrews (2018), Marisa Pizii (2018), and Kenzie Johnson (2018).

Related Materials

Related materials may also be found in the following collection:

Processing Information

Originally accessioned by Kathleen Banks Nutter, 2015.

The Prison Birth Project Records addition from Accession #2018-S-0005 was kept in original folders and order when possible. Similar subjects were organized and boxed together. Potentially sensitive materials (donor names and contact information, client names and contact information, tax forms and other financial documents) have been set aside for further assessment.

Materials from Accession #2018-S-0049 were kept in original order when possible and added to folders with similar materials. Oversize items were added to Box 6 of #2018-S-0005.

Digital accessions received via a file sharing service (Google Drive), have been backed up to networked storage for preservation. Additional digital content was copied from the donors' computers and discs in the collection. All digital records have been retained in their original order and detailed file lists were created and attached to the contents listing.

Processing Information

Between September 2022 and February 2023, Smith College Special Collections renumbered many boxes to eliminate duplicate numbers within collections in order to improve researcher experience. A full crosswalk of old to new numbers is available.



Finding aid to the Prison Birth Project records
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Finding aid prepared by Kathleen Nutter Banks.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:23-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2018-08-14 and 2018-10-12: This record was revised to reflect the addition of new materials.
  • 2020-04-09: Added accessions 14S-49, 15S-78, and 16S-19

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063