Babies in Jail
February of 2012 Decatur Correctional Center had its ribbon hosted a ceremony for the Moms and Babies Program. This program allows an inmate whose release date is within 18 months of the delivery of the baby to keep the baby incarcerated with the mother. The mother and baby are given their own room to accommodate both mother and child’s needs. Deputy Director Debbie Denning of Women and Family Services states that “The Mom and Babies program is designed to help strengthen the special bond that is critical to a healthy mother child relationship. This new program recognizes the parental role and responsibilities of the female offender and helps prepare her to take proper care of her child when she reenters society,” There are many good reasons why inmates should have their baby in jail with them. It allows the inmate and the child to bond at the earliest age possible rather than when the inmate is released and the child’s 15 months old, which makes it less traumatic for the child. Along with being incarcerated the inmates are given classes on how to properly care for their child and how to handle certain situations. Many women who are incarcerated were abused as children and one of the goals is to keep them from abusing their child is by teaching them how to care for their child. Another benefit of having babies incarcerated with their mother is that they are able to be breast fed which is the healthiest choice for a child. Joseph Carlson, a criminal-justice professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney who completed a study on these types of programs says "Our goal is that the child will feel loved, the mother will stay out of prison herself and thus will hopefully strive to keep the child out of prison." (U.S. News) Inmate Gina West states "Finally, we have a program that's put together to give us a chance … We're no different than anybody else … just made bad decisions, bad choices. We're not...
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