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tranquilsea's avatar

What is your opinion on whether women should be able to keep their babies with them in prison after they've given birth?

Asked by tranquilsea (17758points) September 23rd, 2010

I’m of the mind that where ever possible women should keep their babies with them. It is important for them to bond with the baby. By taking the baby away immediately after they’re born it can really mess with the bonding process. That can, in turn, set up a lifetime of disconnect between mother and child which could harm the child long term.

I think you need to consider what the woman is in prison for, who that woman is and how long she’ll be in there. But even if she is in there for a longer term…having their baby with them for a good portion of time would be a good thing.

What do you believe?

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14 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I agree with all that you say. If a woman is addicted or severely mentally unstable, the child should be in better hands – otherwise, the child should stay with the woman.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Agreed. For a short period of time, anyhow. Bonding with your mother has a lot to do with attachments you will form later in life, security in early life is crucial for development.

Pandora's avatar

Thats a tough one. I think if she is in for a minor offense and her sentence is less than 2 years, than she should be allowed to bond with the baby till it starts to walk.
If it is going to be longer than 2 years than the baby is probably better off bonding with another person, (family member or foster parents) than to have the baby taken away after one year and then they have to stay with foster parents for another year or more and then be torn away from them too.
No point in making it harder for the kid all around.
Of course there are other consideration as already mentioned and the cost and care of putting mom and baby in a special facility.
Best thing to do is perhaps, put mom on an ankle bracelet once the baby is born and let her live outside with her child till her sentence is over and add a longer probation period and community service. Provided her crime wasn’t a violent crime or drug related or severe child neglect.

Blueroses's avatar

I think it depends a lot on the facility and the mission of the wardens. If the goal is truly rehabilitation and training the incarcerated to reenter society, then we all benefit from prison programs that encourage non-selfish thought and bonding while teaching good parenting techniques.
Of course, it would have to be decided on a case-by-case basis. Every consideration should be given to the ultimate well-being of the child.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think it depends on the facility. While bonding is very important, prison is really not a safe place for a baby in my opinion. They would have to make special arrangements for the baby to have a place to sleep. Who would pay for the diapers and food and how would they get it? What about medical care? Who would be taking the baby to all of it’s appointments? What about play time?

Blueroses's avatar

Does it cost us more to create and maintain compassionate programs than it does to address recidivism later? Could a safe area be established within the prison to address the needs of mothers and children with proper medical supervision? I don’t know, for sure but I look at the success of programs like dogs as an example of the difference between punitive and instructive sentences.
I’m aware of the difference between animals and children but the lessons are similar and the rewards could be great.

downtide's avatar

I think it depends on the prison, and the mental state of the mother. But in general I think the baby should stay with her. The baby won’t care that it’s in prison, only that it’s with its mother.

YARNLADY's avatar

Each case needs to be considered on it’s own merits, but I lean toward yes.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

I don’t think thats a good idea. Most jails (from where I’m from) are very unsanitary and it would be bad to have a baby in that type of environment.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Mom2BDec2010 I was sort of assuming they would have a separate section from the general population.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

@YARNLADY Well, in that case I think it would be fine.

shego's avatar

There are several jails that have a program for mothers. They are in a separate wing.
The women are chosen on a case to case basis, and they can’t be serving more than 2 years.
I personally think it’s a good idea. Many other countries have mommy programs and the children are fine.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Great Caesar’s ghost. Nobel of a thought but in this nation it is about punishment and not what the baby needs. The government’s ideal seems more to say “if you don’t want your kid raised by others don’t commit crimes if you are pregnant”.

Allowing the mother to sit at home with an ankle bracelet I can’t see flying. With this get tough on crime hysteria I can’t see any politician signing on to that. It would come off appearing too soft on criminals and be political suicide. With 3 strikes, gun enhancements etc this society is more for dropping the hammer on criminals no matter how pregnant.

Nobel ideal, but a non-starter, no one will want to pay for it, having a woman at home on a monitor. They don’t want to pay for criminals now but they want ever more locked up.

tranquilsea's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central And that is too bad, truly.

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