‘Turning pain into power’ By Julie Bilotta

In 2012 I made international headlines because at 8 months pregnant my bail was revoked on charges from 2 years prior to my pregnancy. The charge was for possession of marijuana for the intent to distribute. A few days later I went into labour which I didn’t realize at the time because this was first pregnancy. I was ignored all day and even put into segregation for being too loud. 12 hours later my sons foot was outside of my body which means I was going into a breach birth which extremely dangerous to the mother and child. After forgetting to call an ambulance for 45 minutes I delivered my son breach in a jail cell with only paramedics. My son Gionni was in extremely bad condition and so was I. A year later just 2 weeeks after Gionni turned 1 he stopped breathing and passed away on October 13th 2013. I thought my life was over and actually came very close to suicide. The media was flooding the streets and calling all family members. I had already started a lawsuit against the Ottawa jail, the college of nurses and the guards. I did go on to win the lawsuit but during all this I started doing speeches at different universities and speaking publicly at different events and even had mandates changed. I’m still advocating to this day for prison reform, mental health and addiction. A quick google of my name will give you to a of information as it was a huge story.

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