The number of women incarcerated in the United States has doubled in the past three decades (Fritz & Whiteacre, 2016). Pregnant women in prisons often are subject to myriad forms of abuse which increases their chances of suffering from traumatic disorders. The Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) house over thousands of pregnant per year. Due to increase mother-child attachment, improve parenting efficacy, and reduce participant recidivism a new program for maternity nursing in the prisons should be considered.
The Central California Women’s Facility would implement the maternity nursing prison program intended to allow mothers to keep their infants with them inside a correctional facility. The program would operate for women who are pregnant at the time they are incarcerated and allow the mother to form a bond with the child during infancy. The mission of the program would be to help the mother and their child to develop a relationship and the baby could possibly leave the prison together at the end of the mothers’ sentence. Based on The Social Learning Theory and The Social Bond Theory, the program will aim to provide that the infants will have the attachment and involvement with their mothers so they won’t grow up to have criminal behavior or engage in criminal activity (Cullen et al, 2014).
The following sections of this policy brief will review academic research to support the implementation of the Maternity Nursing Prison Program. The policy brief will begin by describing the CCWF, and why the program is needed. Also, the program will be addressed on how long-term program goals will be effective in the prisons. Lastly, pros and cons will be discussed and implications of the program. In summary, research and application of The Social Learning and The Social Bond Theory will be used to support the need for the implementation of the maternity nursing prison program by the Central California Women’s Facility.
The coordinating agency for the proposed program is the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF). The CCWF is located in Chowchilla, Ca were over 5,000 women inmates are housed. The Central California Women’s Facility is the largest female institution in the state of California. However, CCWF provides inmates with academic education, work and vocational training, counseling and specialized programs for women to re-enter society. This agency also specialized in mental health and medical services providing a licensed medical environment.
Mothers who are participating in the program generally must be evaluate as mentally and physically capable of caring for their child, and have no history of violence or child abuse. Research of the needs and benefits of the maternity nursing prison program was conducted to gather information for the proposed program. Mothers that will be participating in the prison program must be pregnant at the time of entering custody, and never have been convicted of a violent crime, and also have a 18 months or less sentence. The Central California Women Facility maternity nursing prison program was examined by the Governor.
The strengths and limitations has been an academic research of similar programs that have successful information. There are strengths and limitations within the needs of assessment for the prison program. CCWF is not well positioned to respond efficiently or effectively to their maternity nursing wards.
Pregnant women who are incarcerated experience complex risks that can compromise their health and the health of their offspring due to previous drug addictions etc. Mothers are experiencing attachment anxiety after giving birth to their child while incarcerated. All mothers who are serving in CDCR custody who are pregnant will be eligible to give birth as long they are serving a sentence for 18 months or less with good behavior for more than two months. Research indicates the program can produce successful outcomes, and reintegrate the mother back into society. Although, mothers in prison represent a high- risk parenting population in terms of both attachment histories and economic and social risk factors (Baradon et al, 2008).
There have been measurements standards that were determined and tested to establish a known base line for future evaluations to help determine the effectiveness of the nursery program (Carlson, 1998). Although, many separations from an infant and their mother after birth has been analyzed, and causing corrections to re think about prison nurseries. However, there is a strong need for an intervention for maternity care provisions to be implemented into prisons. When adequate resources are available for prison nursery programs, women who participate show lower rates of recidivism, and their children show no effects as a result of their participation. It is recommended that the Central California Women’s Facility implement the maternity nursing prison program.
The target population for the program will be women who are pregnant at the time they ae initially incarcerated. It will also target the women who are facing mental and major health issues. The Maternity Nursing Prison Program will cater to the needs of women who are giving birth while being incarcerated. The program will operate a prevailing community to help the child health and developmental standards.
In recent years, there has been an increase in public and government support for the establishment of prison nursery programs for incarcerated women. The program explanation will be given to the warden and the city governor. There is a growing support of Central California Women’s Facility prison warden and governor to promote women’s nurseries in the prison. There will be training for the program staff that will be held for nurses/ volunteer inmates working the prison ward. The training classes will prepare the program staff to help the pregnant women for delivery and after birth care.
The mission of the Maternity Nursing Prison Program will be to help allow mothers to keep their infants with them inside a correctional facility. The prison nursery program will allow a mother to parent her infant for a finite period of time within a special housing unit at the prison. However, by keeping mothers and infants together, this program will prevent foster care placement and allow for the formation of child bonds during a critical period.
The goal of the program is for the mother and child to leave the prison together at the end of the mother’s sentence. Additionally, the program aims to allow the mother to have a bond with the infant through their developmental stages. The program will offer treatment to the women who are experiencing anxiety and mental health problems. A secondary goal is to reduce recidivism among incarcerated mothers by encouraging them to make lifestyle changes before being released back into society.
After the women has been evaluated as mentally and physically capable of caring for the child and have no history of child abuse they will be eligible for the program. Overall, there has been many aspects of a woman’s past that will be examined before she can participate in the nursery prison program. This will include determining who is going to have custody of the child, if the mother has had a history of involvement with the child-welfare system, the length of her sentence, past episodes of incarceration, and the nature of her crime.
The pregnant women will be examined once a month before giving birth, and the program staff will meet with the mothers twice a week to prepare them for birth. In order to offer the program to a wider group of incarcerated mothers, program developers will be taking a more therapeutic approach when it comes to establishing the prison nursery program. Although, a therapeutic approach would entail providing supervision and guidance for the higher risk mothers so they improve their parenting skills in a highly supportive environment. Inmates that are willing to volunteer must be screened to participate in the nursery program as nannies and daycare workers.
Pros of Program Based on Research and Theory
There has been evidence provided that early mother-child bonding results in positive future outcomes for both mother and child. The program will be cost effective due to volunteers from the community and also inmates. The maternity nursing prison program will be funded through the government and other assistance programs. However, there will be local volunteers outside of the prison that can offer time and assist in the maternity ward for community service hours. Factors to increase the mothers and child bond will focus on the social learning theory and the social bond theory: attachment, involvement and commitment.
Allowing infants and young children to stay with their incarcerated mothers may also improve outcomes for the mothers and to build strengthening relationships. Evidence demonstrates that crime is learned through behaviors and reinforcements individuals essentially engage in crime through their exposures to favorable definitions of criminal behaviors (Cullen et al, 2014). The prison nursery program provides secure criminal justice corrections setting for the mothers. Also, while mothers are bonding with their infant during incarceration positive outcomes will be seen, behavioral manors during incarceration and recidivism rates.
There will be skill building classes for the mothers, interventions and postnatal period mentoring. The facility program will allow more positive experiences of pregnancy and birth while in prison. The CDCR is dedicated to the rehabilitation process for all offenders to include an environment with ethical institutional settings where offenders are treats with dignity and respect and offer counseling services (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 2018).
Cons of Program Based on Research and Theory
There are not many negative aspects when it comes to the prison nursery programs. One would be the prison nursery program may not be able to fulfill all the needs a mother may have before and after birth. The program will overcome fulfilling prison nursery needs by putting nurses, volunteer staff and volunteer inmates in extensive training which will be very important. Capacity and resources issues will overcome this by presenting the needs and benefits of the program.
Women in prison may experience difficulties when there are prison lock downs and are not able to see their child until the prison reopens. However, there may be certain situations where the infant’s life maybe at danger when riots and prison lock downs occur and the baby may be taken away for certain infractions. If the mother has any discipline infractions there is a possibility that their child will be taken away from them and they will no longer be eligible for the program.
Implication of Program
The implication theories of the program surround around social bond theory and the social learning theory. The social learning theory has had a significant impact on the research of crime and remains one of the top theories in the world of criminology (Cullen et al, 2014). The social learning theory argues that people learn to participate in criminal behavior the same way conduct. For example, if the infant is taken away from the mother at an early age it will cause the child to have developmental issues which the child will grow up in criminal behavior.
The social bond theory is the process of socialization and social learning builds self-control and reduces the inclination to indulge in behavior recognized as anti-social. Mother bonding with their infants after giving birth is import need so the baby will have nourishing and to be close to their mothers. Mothers that are supported through pregnancy feels supported and less isolated and distressed during pregnancy. Incarcerated women who have their newborn taken away can contribute to psychological distress and a number of adverse mental health conditions, including major depression, anxiety, as well as disciplinary issues while incarcerated. The social bond theory supports that mothers bonding, and able to care for the baby, the mother will be able to make a new start in life after their sentence has been terminated. The mother infant attachment was stronger for this group than a comparison group of non-criminally involved mothers of similar socio-?economic and cultural backgrounds (Byrne et al.2012).
In summary, infants who bond securely with their mothers become more self- reliant and have higher self- esteem as toddlers. Allowing the mothers who have an 18 month or less sentence stay with their infant after birth will reduce recidivism rates. The maternity nursing prison program can assist the Central California Women’s Facility incarcerated mothers to more thoroughly and effectively supervise their newborn babies. The aim of the project is to improve the experience of this vulnerable group of women and babies. The program will formally be evaluated on the outcomes and methods, with an emphasis on mother and child health conditions, recidivism rate, and child custody post-incarceration.
One of the reasons why this program will work is to improve inmates disciplinary conduct in the prison in the short term is that mothers are often required to remain in good standing at the facility, no disciplinary tickets etc. in order to remain in the nursery program. This will provide a strong incentive for them to follow prison rules and regulations and may enable them to be eligible for early release programs. After mothers are released back into the community from prison and the prison nursery program aftercare programs will provide additional support to mothers being released to ensure they transition successfully back into the community.