Senate Considering Offender Nursery At Women’s Prison

A proposal under consideration in the Missouri Legislature could create a nursery that would allow offenders who are pregnant at the time they are incarcerated to stay with their baby for up to 18 months.

The legislation would establish a “Correctional Center Nursery Program” in one or more women’s prisons in the state.  The bill was introduced by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, who told the Seniors, Families, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee this week that the program would be beneficial to both mother and child.  Luetkemeyer  says “The bill is designed to ensure that a mother and a child develop a strong bond and that child avoids the foster care system and it dramatically reduces recidivism among the women participants.”

Advocates for the program told the committee that prison nurseries have been established in nine states. Studies have shown the programs have both long-and short-term benefits for the child and mother and reduce recidivism.

Under the proposal, a woman would be eligible for the program…

If she was pregnant at the time she was put into custody,

If she gave birth after the program was implemented,

If she was a nonviolent offender

Plus any other criteria established by the department.

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