“We take the children from their mothers. And some prisons, don’t even let the mother hold her newborn baby. And every psychiatrist will tell you that it’s the bond that forms. Here this precious baby has been in the womb for 9 months, and when the mother holds her baby on her chest, they feel the same rhythm of breathing.” - Pat Nolan
Pregnancy and childbirth put a woman’s body under incredible stress, making it necessary for women to have a recovery period. Doctors recommend that new mothers have a six week postpartum recovery period in which they do not participate in any strenuous activity, including climbing the stairs and lifting anything heavier than their babies. This is especially important for mothers who had Cesarean sections because they need at least six weeks for their incisions to heal. Postpartum restraints should not be used on incarcerated women, as they can interfere with the mother’s ability to bond with her child, which in turn can negatively affect the child’s health. Breastfeeding also allows mothers to form attachment bonds with their infants and is the healthiest option for infants to receive nutrition. Because breastfeeding is optimal for infants, it is critical for postpartum mothers to maintain a well-balanced diet as they are providing nutrition to both their children and themselves.
Postpartum mothers also have a greater risk of developing symptoms of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder, making it especially important for incarcerated women to have access to mental health resources. Regular obstetric and gynecological care should also be easily accessible to postpartum mothers as issues can arise during postpartum recovery.RECENT NEWS: Dignity For Incarcerated Women Advances At ALEC. American Conservative Union Scores A Win With Approval of ALEC Model Bill.
Washington, D.C. – At the winter meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), ALEC’s Criminal Justice Task Force adopted landmark model legislation on incarcerated women. The “Dignity for Incarcerated Women” model bill is intended to provide a template for every state legislature to improve policies for women behind bars. This key effort was sponsored by the American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF), along with key ALEC members, Rep. Bernie Satrom (R-ND) and Rep. Kim Moser (R-KY). This is anACT regarding the care of state incarcerated pregnant women, family visitation rights, the access male correctional officers have in correctional facilities where a female inmate may be in a state of undress, access to feminine hygiene products in correctional facilities, and the education and training of employees of correctional facilities in which female inmates are housed. The full text can be found here.