Katina Saint Marie Wins An Important Ruling
In The Oregon Court Of Appeals!
On behalf of one of her clients at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, the General Counsel of The Portia Project recently secured a resounding victory that upholds the right of an incarcerated mother to enjoy parenting time with her minor children as long as the children's visits with her do not endanger their health or safety. A trial judge had ruled that Melanie Stewart, "who will be incarcerated for the next 14 years," should be denied visits from her children solely because she is serving a lengthy sentence for a serious crime. The Court of Appeals, however, reaffirmed that "a parent's incarceration does not invariably require that visitation should be denied." On the contrary, "[e]ach case must be decided on its own merits and not on the basis of a policy not to allow children to visit their parents at the penitentiary." The full opinion can be found at the following link: In the Matter of Daniel E. Stewart and Melanie L. Stewart.
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PORTIA PROJECT
The Portia Project, a charitable organization that is based in Eugene, Oregon, was founded in 2002 for the purpose of providing legal and other assistance to the 1,000-plus women who are incarcerated at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF) in Wilsonville, Oregon, and to the large number of women who are under post-prison supervision throughout the state. The goals of The Portia Project include helping incarcerated and formerly incarcerated mothers maintain contact with their children, working for the release of imprisoned women who were wrongfully convicted or have convincingly demonstrated that they have earned their freedom, and educating both our elected representatives and members of the general public about the intended and unintended consequences of the rapid growth of our prison population.
Trina Kanewa - The Portia Project board member
As a former inmate at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF), I know firsthand the struggles of being an incarcerated mother, trying to continue to parent my daughters from the inside. I serve as a voice for the thousands of women who, to many in society, are all but forgotten when the prison door closes behind them.
I have the wonderful privilege of mentoring and sponsoring women who parole from CCCF. I have also had the opportunity to go back inside the prison walls which used to hold me, in order to share my message of hope with the women inside. Giving back is my greatest joy.
Besides working for Premier R.V. in Junction City as an "alchemist"(restorative specialist), I am a third- year fulltime honors student, working towards my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology at the University of Oregon and preparing to apply to the dental hygiene program at Lane Community College. I am grateful for the opportunity to go back to school enabling me to do something great with my life.
I am an outdoor enthusiast extraordinaire. When I'm not working or in class, I am either training for a 100 mile cycling event, for another half marathon, or a triathlon. I also love to hike and ski the beautiful mountains of Oregon.
I have two beautiful adult daughters, a very spoiled granddaughter, and a loving partner. My life is full of love and gratitude for all that I am and all that I have.