In response to the growing presence of women who are pregnant or become pregnant in prison, the correctional system has implemented a program called Prison Nurseries. This program allows the baby and mother to stay together and form an attachment bond, crucial to the health and well-being of the child. This program is excellent in theory, but defective in practice. There are rigid qualifications with which women must comply, and thus, women are often denied entry into the program because they have had a previous conviction. In addition, many that have applied do not know if they have been accepted into the program until after they have given birth. Just imagine giving birth and still not knowing if you will have 48 hours to be a mother or a year to be a mother. Mothers accepted into the program are permitted access to their baby until it has turned one. Mothers can also apply for an extension, keeping their baby until 18 months. Currently, only nine states offer prison nurseries, but hopefully this number will grow in the near future.RECENT NEWS: Dignity For Incarcerated Women Moves Forward at ALEC. American Conservative Union Scores 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.