Prison-Based Nursery Program
The population for women in prisons is increasing, since 1977 their population has gone up more than eight hundred percent. “In 2004 four percent of women in state prisons and three percent of women in federal prisons were pregnant at the time of admittance.” (Villanueva, 2009) As the rate of women inmates increase so will the number of women pregnant when incarcerated. A question that may be asked is “Where do these babies go when they are born if the mothers are in prison?” There are two ways this can be dealt with, one way is the child is separated from their mother at birth and the custody is given to a family member, a foster home, or something of that nature. Another way is the child stays in prison and lives with his or her mother there. The second option is called a prison-based nursery program. The purpose of this paper is to explore prison-based nursery programs and explain its success in the criminal justice system. Up until 1950 prison-based nursery programs were very common for women through-out the prison system. By the time the early 1970’s hit every state but New York closed their nursery programs. There were a few factors that led to this conclusion; the cost of the program and the lack of need of the program. The program was not cheap and they found that most babies could just be placed with family members. This seemed to be the best idea for pregnant women in prison. Recently though, the women population in prisons is at an all-time high and there is a new growing recognition of the importance of the family connection to both child and mother achievement. With this being the case several states today are taking steps to keep mothers and their babies together. Today in America there are nine states that allow women who are pregnant at the stage of sentencing to retain their babies with them in the walls of a correctional facility after the birth of their baby. These states are California, Illinois,...
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