We are a program of Ostara Initiative, Inc. You can find out more about our parent organization by clicking on the button.

Our Alabama Team

Chauntel Norris
Program Co-Director

Chauntel Norris is a Certified Lactation Counselor, a DONA trained doula, and a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator. She serves on the board of the Alabama Breastfeeding Committee and is an active member of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance and a Community Transformer for Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE).  She received both her B.A. and B.S. from UAB. Chauntel is an advocate for breastfeeding in vulnerable communities and strongly believes in the right of all women to be able to breastfeed their babies. 

Sarah Doyle
Doula & Group Facilitator
Sarah Doyle is a licensed clinical social worker, a prenatal yoga teacher, and a DONA certified birth doula and postpartum doula. She studied social work at Baylor University for her BSW and University of Denver for her MSW. Her social work experience with adolescent mothers and teenagers in the foster care system informs her prison work. She loves building relationships with her clients throughout the birth process and believes bolstering the mother-baby bonds can help break the cycle of incarceration. 
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Ashley Lovell
Program Co-Director

Ashley Lovell is a Lamaze-Certified Childbirth Educator, a DONA-certified birth doula, and a peer breastfeeding counselor. She received her B.S. and M.S. from Clemson University and Auburn University in wildlife sciences, but eventually left her 17-year career in natural resources to focus on professional birth work. As an doula for 8 years, she has supported birthing people in 10 different hospitals and home settings in Alabama and Georgia.

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Erin Brown
Doula & Group Facilitator

Erin Brown is a registered nurse, a bereavement doula, a postpartum doula, a Lamaze-trained educator, and a peer breastfeeding counselor. She believes in the value of forming strong bonds among mothers and their babies.

Robin McCormick
Doula & Group Facilitator

Robin McCormick is a registered nurse with a research focus in vulnerable populations and maternal-child outcomes. She received her BSN from Troy University and her MSN from the University of South Alabama. She earned her Doctorate of Nursing Practice at Troy University, and teaches courses and clinicals at Troy.


Governing Board


Colleen Bell, PhD

St. Paul, MN


Julie Colby

Mineapolis, MN


Tommy Franklin

St. Paul, MN


Florence Holland, Ed.D

Auburn, AL


Chernell Bizzell-Barnett,  LPC, NCC, CCM

Hoover, AL


Josh Christofferson

Hawley, MN

*Three of our board members are survivors of incarceration.

Advisory Board

Jesanna Cooper, MD

Advisory Board Member, ​Birmingham, AL

Beth Sahlie, MD

Advisory Board Member, ​Birmingham, AL

Ellen Abell, Ph.D.

Advisory Board Member, ​Auburn, AL

Cheryl Adams, RN, IBCLC

Advisory Board Member, ​Notasulga, AL

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History of

The Alabama Prison Birth Project

Our Mission

To improve the health of newborns birthed by women in custody while strengthening maternal bonds and maternal self-efficacy.

In September 2015, Clayton Wheat of Corizon Correctional Health asked Ashley Lovell, an East Alabama doula and childbirth educator, if she could provide childbirth classes to the women in custody at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women who were pregnant. He also reached out to the Minnesota Prison Doula Project to explore options for bringing gender responsive, trauma informed care to these women.


At the end of 2015, Alabama Prison Birth Project was incorporated under the name East Alabama Birth Village and became a 501c3. We brought childbirth education and support to Tutwiler once per month, along with providing other birth-related services in East Alabama. In early 2017, the organization's board voted to focus solely on prison birth support and changed the non-profit's name to The Alabama Prison Birth Project.

In December 2018, the APBP board voted to approve an acquisition by Ostara Initiative, Inc., the home of the Minnesota Prison Doula Project, to create long-term stability and sustainability for our work in Alabama and elsewhere. The acquisition was completed on June 30, 2019, and APBP became a program of Ostara Initiative, Inc.​​

Our Vision

All mothers giving birth in Alabama's criminal justice system will have healthy births and will not be separated from their newborns, ensuring normal child development and promoting positive maternal change within.