Pregnant felons in prision!

  1. Do you feel sorry for pregnant felons in jail shackle when in labors? Do you think they deserve to be threaten or treat like a tax payer? Do you think they have right to keep or place their children in foster home? What are your suggestion?
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    14 Comments

  3. by   HisTreasure
    A woman is a woman and childbirth for any woman should be special, spiritual, and unique. No two deliveries are ever the same, even for the same woman, and so the experience should be treated as such. She should not be in shackles, her baby should not be ripped away, and she should not be made to feel like less than a laboring mother, (much less a downright criminal) for the precious moments when she is communing with God in bringing another life into the world. I think it is important for mother and baby to have an extended bonding period before the child is placed in foster care as long as the environment is conducive to raising a child happily and healthily for a few months. I saw a show on MSNBC about some penitentiaries that have mother/baby units and programs where mothers are housed in secure, baby friendly units and are allowed to keep their babies for one year. I think that's an awesome program and should be more widely promoted so that other institutions can follow suit. (JMHO).
  4. by   deyo321
    I think this could be an interesting discussion. I don't see that either of you are correctional nurses (which is cool), so I will offer some different points of view.

    Do you feel sorry for pregnant felons in jail shackle when in labors?

    No, I do not feel sorry for them. That wouldn't be useful. And though I have not had this experience my officers inform me that a woman would not be in "shackles" while in labor and delivery.

    Do you think they deserve to be threaten or treat like a tax payer?

    I believe there are more than two options. Why would you believe they would be threatened? That is unrealistic in my experience. Secondly they are not paying taxes. Your tax dollars are delivering that baby and paying for its care. There are examples of girls getting arrested because they want the county to pay for their delivery.

    her baby should not be ripped away

    Overly dramatic perhaps, but makes for good tv.

    she should not be made to feel like less than a laboring mother, (much less a downright criminal)

    I am at a loss with this one. She is a laboring mother and she is a criminal. Maybe I have more faith in people, but I am fairly certain that the people in that room are only focused on a good outcome for mother and baby, not the circumstances that led up to the event.

    I saw a show on MSNBC about some penitentiaries that have mother/baby units and programs where mothers are housed in secure, baby friendly units and are allowed to keep their babies for one year. I think that's an awesome program and should be more widely promoted so that other institutions can follow suit. (JMHO).

    I would agree if we lived in a vacuum. These programs are expensive. Prohibitively so. I think this is where the arguement gets interesting. I would postulate that an infant well bonded with its mother may be less likely to end up in the system in the long run than one who was "ripped away" from mother at birth. So the arguement becomes on which end do the tax payers eat it. Also would seperation after a year be more or less damaging?

    My view is skewed of course by my experience. I am in a county jail where the Judge may reduce charges or the Superindentant may grant furlough so that the inmate is responsible for the bill. Does this mean the taxpayer then does not foot the bill? Most likely not. But the county budget is not effected. This may not feel philanthropic but it is the cold hard truth. You want to pay more property taxes?

    I believe this may be a very divisive topic. And I think that correctional experience will effect ones view on it. Hope I don't get flamed, just wanted to add some tinder to the fire. What happens in your facility?
    Last edit by deyo321 on May 31, '09 : Reason: grammer
  5. by   HisTreasure
    Thanks for your points of view. I thought the survey was just personal opinion and ideal, not what is practical or reality. I am not a correctional nurse, nor do I intend on being one at this point in my life (I've never even been inside of a correctional facility) so obviously any ideals I've developed would be based on hearsay and/or television. No worries, it's just a poll.
  6. by   elkpark
    I feel sorry for the kids, having the misfortune to be born to mothers who, at the very least, have made some v. poor choices and shown some v. poor judgment in order to wind up in this situation. The kids certainly didn't ask for this, and are starting life with several big strikes against them.
  7. by   Orca
    I am a nursing administrator at a women's correctional facility. While I feel sorry for the children, I have far less sympathy for the offender. Whatever her feelings for her unborn child, it wasn't enough to prevent her from committing a crime. It would be beneficial to the child to have time to bond, but this is not practical in a prison environment. The mother is deprived of many of the experiences of childbirth and bonding with the infant, but it is of her own doing. Many of these women have committed significant crimes, and I do not believe that preganancy should mitigate the punishment they receive for committing them. Separation from society, including family, is often the consequence for committing felonies.

    Our caseworkers and social worker work closely with pregnant inmates on placement of infants after birth. Some are put up for adoption, while others are turned over to other caregivers (usually family members). Thorough background checks are performed on the person or persons who will take custody of the infant and the home situation is investigated, to ensure that to the best of our knowledge the baby is not being placed in a dangerous environment or placed with people who are unable to provide proper care.
    I saw a show on MSNBC about some penitentiaries that have mother/baby units and programs where mothers are housed in secure, baby friendly units and are allowed to keep their babies for one year. I think that's an awesome program and should be more widely promoted so that other institutions can follow suit. (JMHO).
    This was considered in my state, and it was discarded due to the tremendous cost. Specially trained staff would have to be hired to work 24-7, a new facility would have to be built, and it would have to be licensed as a day care center, subject to rigid standards that would be very difficult to meet while maintaining necessary security procedures. There is also the possibility of one mother becoming angry with another and deliberately injuring her baby (after all, people aren't sent to prison for being mature or exercising appropriate judgment). Another consideration is that it would take about 15 minutes for the first lawsuit to be filed by a male offender asserting that his rights as a father were just as important.

    The simple solution for pregnant mothers is, don't commit a crime.
    Last edit by Orca on Jun 5, '09
  8. by   Purple_Scrubs
    I think the focus should be on the children who are innocents in the situation. There needs to be some research done on what is in the child's best interest. Perhaps it is more traumatic to be taken away at a year of age, as mentioned above. Perhaps it is better that the child not bond closely, especially if the mother is to be incarcerated for any length of the child's life.

    As far as the mother, they deserve no more or less than any other inmate or patient. To be treated with respect and be provided with the highest possible level of care.
  9. by   military spouse
    No, I don't feel sorry for them. I suppose there are a few that haven't done anything to endanger their unborn children, but very few. I currently work work with women at a state prison and I've seen pregnant inmates (PVTs) come in so stoned they can't answer questions. I have seen another inmate try to kill her unborn child at approximately 36 weeks. I've seen numerous inmates not notify anyone that they are in labor so that they can go to another hospital besides county. That only endangers the child and we've already had one born recently at the prison. I have sympathy for the children and their situation. If the mothers really cared about their unborn babies, they wouldn't be in prison. Simple!! Make the right choice. Can't think of any crime that would send somebody to prison that turns out to be the right choice.

    Now, do I treat the pregnant inmates well and with kindness? Absolutely!! However, most of these children will be born with circumstances that have the potential to affect them for the rest of their lives. It is so sad....
  10. by   llg
    Quote from Purple_Scrubs
    I think the focus should be on the children who are innocents in the situation. There needs to be some research done on what is in the child's best interest. Perhaps it is more traumatic to be taken away at a year of age, as mentioned above. Perhaps it is better that the child not bond closely, especially if the mother is to be incarcerated for any length of the child's life.

    As far as the mother, they deserve no more or less than any other inmate or patient. To be treated with respect and be provided with the highest possible level of care.
    I agree completely. If the mother is not going to be there for the child as he/she grows up, then it would probably be best for the child to bond with the family who will raise him/her. To force the baby to bond with someone who is not going to be there and to not have a chance to bond with the family who will give him/her a home is probably cruel to the child.

    Now ... if the mom is only going to be in jail for a short time and will have custody after her release, then that's another story.

    I believe the best interest of the child (determined on a case-by-case basis) should be an important consideration.
  11. by   MadisonsMomRN
    I don't feel sorry for them. I do feel sorry for the babies though. I see repeat offenders and some of them come in strung out on drugs and going through withdrawals. I am just sad for those innocent babies!
  12. by   familychick
    I work in a womens prison. We currently have 27 pregnant offenders. We also have a mother baby unit. Among other criteria, the moms have to be within 18 months of release at the time of delivery. They also must have never have had Child Protection Services called on them in the past and not be in for a violent offense. The babies are not taken away after a year. They are released with their mom.
  13. by   ~~RN~~
    The issue of using restraints (handcuffs/shackles) on pregnant and laboring inmates has been in the public eye recently due to various states passing legislation against it. There are inmate advocate groups lobbying to forbid their use after hearing stories of horrible situations - women being in leg irons when ready to deliver and the officer not removing them, so delivery occurred with them on, etc. While I truly do not believe this is the norm, I do believe there needs to be legislation/policy and procedures/etc. to mandate this. The American Correctional Health Services Association (ACHSA) has written a draft Position Paper on this topic, and it is now out to members for comment. It will be voted on at the next Board meeting in July. It basically supports the banning of the shackles/restraints in these circumstances, but also acknowledges that the security aspects (level, escape risk, risk of self -harm, etc) must be considered. It further recommends that female officers accompany a laboring inmate if at all possible. I am not sure if the draft is posted on the website (www.achsa.org), but if not, I will ask that they do so today. We would be happy to hear from anyone who wants to provide feedback!
  14. by   dianabay
    Quote from familychick
    I work in a womens prison. We currently have 27 pregnant offenders. We also have a mother baby unit. Among other criteria, the moms have to be within 18 months of release at the time of delivery. They also must have never have had Child Protection Services called on them in the past and not be in for a violent offense. The babies are not taken away after a year. They are released with their mom.
    That sounds like a well-thought out program. Wish it could always be like that. Of course others have a point about the expense. But I think we may pay either way, as Deyo suggested. Do we pay up front and try to give baby (and hopefully mom - yeah, I know I'm an idealist) a positive start; or do we pay later when this child (likely) also ends up in the system?

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