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

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Chauntel Norris
CLC/LCCE
Program Co-Director

Chauntel Norris ​is Co-Director for the Alabama Prison Birth Project and the Co-Founder of Baobab Birth Collective. She is a leading expert in lactation during incarceration. She is a native of Birmingham, AL, and attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she earned her B.A. in African American Studies & her B.S. in Psychology. Chauntel is a DONA trained Birth & Post-Partum Doula, a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and a Certified Lactation Counselor. She is an active member of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, a community transformer for Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere, and serves on the board for the Alabama Breastfeeding Committee.

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Ashley Lovell
MS/LCCE/CD(DONA)
Program Co-Director

Ashley Lovell ​is C0-Director for the Alabama Prison Birth Project. She 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 respectively in wildlife sciences, but eventually left her 17-year career in natural resources to focus on professional birth work. As a doula for 9 years, Ashley is specifically trained in bereavement/loss birth support and  supporting survivors of trauma through birth.

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Erin Brown
RN
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.

 
 

Governing Board

Co-Chair

Colleen Bell, PhD

St. Paul, MN

Co-Chair

Julie Colby

Mineapolis, MN

Secretary

Tommy Franklin

St. Paul, MN

Treasurer

Florence Holland, Ed.D

Auburn, AL

Director

Vacant

Director

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.