Mothers Are Incarcerated at Record Rates, Yet Prison Nursery Beds are Empty
Date:  12-28-2018

Mothers who are allowed to keep their babies with them in prison, for a time, have a much lower recidivism rate
From Jezebel:

When Cassidy Green learned that she was pregnant, she and her husband didn’t discuss cribs, co-sleeping, or even diapers. Instead, they worried about more basic and immediate challenges, like whether Green would be able to spend more than a few days with her baby. Green was in prison, nine years into a 15-year prison sentence at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, New York’s maximum-security women’s prison. She had gotten pregnant on a recent visit through the prison’s Family Reunion Program, which allows incarcerated people to spend a night or two with their family members in a trailer with a more home-like setting than a prison visiting room.

The couple agreed that Green’s husband, who has a disability and uses a wheelchair, would have a hard time caring for a newborn by himself. Plus, Green wanted to breastfeed her baby. They decided that she would keep the child with her for the first year.

This was only an option because Bedford has a 27-bed prison nursery that allows mothers and their babies to stay together for the first 12 months, or up to 18 months if the mother will be paroled by then. When Green applied, it was 2012 and the nursery wasn’t full. She was in one of the prison’s honor units, and immediately filled out the two-page application form and began dreaming of that first year of bonding. Her baby, due in January, would still be too young to notice much by Mother’s Day, in May, but they could at least spend the day together. By Thanksgiving, the baby would be able to eat whatever feast she and the other women could whip up from the canned food the prison provided. By Christmas, she would be old enough to tear open her presents.

Three months later, when she was just beginning to show, Green learned that she had been rejected from the nursery program. She quickly appealed, writing a letter to the prison superintendent. This time the response came within 24 hours. Continue reading >>>