Keeping women in prisons costs the government a lot of money yearly. And housing a pregnant woman or children with their mothers in prisons costs even more. But both the government and support groups want to fight recidivism by keeping mothers and children out of prisons. More importantly, they want to keep children of incarcerated inmates from following their parents’ footsteps.
What is ReMerge?
One of the ways they aim to achieve this in Oklahoma City is through ReMerge.
The ReMerge program is a 2-year program for mothers with children. It helps them cope with their children while still in prison and cope with life after prison.
This program is only for women inmates who are sentenced for non-violent offenses. Those that graduate from the program may have their charges dropped.
Plus, its a chance for them to help ensure that their kids aren’t following their parents’ footsteps towards prisons.
Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration Among Women and Their Children
Family experts state that the government saves money by keeping mother and children out of prison. In Oklahoma, it costs the government about $15,000 every year to keep a woman in prison. This is taxpayers’ money.
The government pays more to keep a pregnant woman who delivers her baby in prison. Meanwhile, statistics reveal children of incarcerated parents tend to commit offenses or crimes that ultimately land them also in prisons.
Some states separate newborns from their mothers a few hours after they are born. The infants are passed to a social worker who gives them to foster parents or an inmate’s relatives.
However, some other states have prison nurseries where newborns are kept so that they can be tended by their mothers. The ReMerge program can help non-violent female offenders keep their children and avoid doing time in prison.
How the ReMerge Program Has Helped Non-Violent Female Offenders
The main idea behind ReMerge is to keep women from prisons and keep children from following their parents’ footsteps into prisons. It aims to break the harmful cycle of intergenerational incarceration.
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Stats on ReMerge Program for Incarcerated Women
- Experts state that women who graduate from the ReMerge program have 5% recidivism rate over three years
- This is comparable to the 13% female prisoners who serve out their terms in state prisons.
The ReMerge program also enroll smokers in cessation program to help them quit. In fact, they help them to beat all kinds of addictions. The program also reunites or reintroduces children to their imprisoned mothers, helping them to bond as a family. And they help female offenders to get jobs after their programs.