Children need their mothers, and just because women prisoners are mothers and their kids are separated by prison walls, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be able to play an integral role in their lives of their little ones. In one prison, efforts are being made to help keep moms and their kids connected despite time being spent incarcerated.
Community Justice Iniatives: Women Prisoners Are Mothers Too
Community Justice Initiatives is a nonprofit program that helps incarcerated women and their children stay connected during this difficult time. According to experts, when mothers wind up spending time in jail or prison for crimes they’ve committed, her children are the ones that are actually being punished.
At Grand Valley Institution, where Community Justice Initiatives is doing their work, as many as 215 women can be housed at one time, and over 75 percent of those women are mothers. Half of them are the primary caregiver to one or more child at the time that they were sent to prison.
These mothers and their children need help and support, and the mother-child program does everything it can to make sure that they get the support they need. The idea is that even though these moms have committed crimes, they aren’t necessarily bad moms.
The mother-child program helps women to be a part of their children’s lives despite the incarceration. They help to ensure that mothers who are pregnant when they wind up in the prison receive prenatal and postnatal care. They even make sure to deliver breast milk that these moms pump for their infant babies.
Women Prisoners Linked to Kids Through Childlink
Child link is a program that helps women prisoners and their kids to connect through video conferencing, which is especially helpful when visits and calls are too expensive. The group believes that allowing women and their children to see each other and really have a “face to face” conversation can make a tremendous difference in the well-being of both mothers and children.
The program also works to make it possible for children and their incarcerated mothers get to spend time together in the family visiting unit at the prison. Sometimes, under a very controlled program, children are able to live at the prison with their mothers.
The goal is to allow moms and their kids to stay connected with one another through a difficult time like incarceration and help mothers to rehabilitate and not re-enter the prison system once released. Encouraging tight bonds with children can be the boost that many mothers need to help them change their lives and turn things around.