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Infants And Inmates47:48
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With guest host Jane Clayson.

Babies born in prison. The numbers are growing. What’s best for baby? We’ll take a closer look.

In this file photo, a statue stands at the entrance to the women-only Taconic Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, N.Y., Wednesday, March 28, 2012. (AP)
In this file photo, a statue stands at the entrance to the women-only Taconic Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, N.Y., Wednesday, March 28, 2012. (AP)

Since 1980 the number of women behind bars has increased over five-fold. And many are pregnant. The majority of babies born in prison are immediately separated from their mothers. Sent to foster care or to relatives. Now there’s a movement to change that. Prison nurseries, once rare, are gaining favor — allowing for an infant and a new mother to live together, in prison. Bonding. Locked up but together. Is this right — for the infant? For the parents? For the state? This hour On Point: Mothers and babies behind bars.
-- Jane Clayson

Guests

Sarah Yager, managing editor at The Atlantic.

Alyssa Mayer, former inmate at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Raised her son in the prison until they were released in April.

James Dwyer, professor of law at the William and Mary School of Law.

Tamar Kraft-Stolar, director of the Women in Prison Project at the Correciontal Association of New York.

From The Reading List

The Atlantic: Prison Born -- "Over the past four decades, as the inmate population in the United States has grown into the largest in the world, the number of children with a parent in custody has risen to nearly 3 million. For corrections officials and policy makers, those relationships can fade into the background. But not when a child is born on the inside."
Utah Law Review: Jailing Black Babies — "At the extreme, there is a fast-growing phenomenon of states placing newborn children into prisons to live for months or years with their incarcerated mothers, mostly in separate units termed "prison nurseries." Prison nurseries have not come at the urging of advocates for children, and they have proceeded without research support for any hope of positive child welfare outcomes."
The Intercept: New York Is Illegally Shackling Pregnant Incarerated Women — "The state of New York is illegally shackling incarcerated women during childbirth, according to a new report on reproductive justice from the Correctional Association of New York. 'Women continue to be shackled on the way to the hospital (even when they are in labor), during recovery (even within hours after giving birth and for long periods of time), and on the way back to the prison (even with waist chains just days after having a C-section),' the report said."

This program aired on July 1, 2015.

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