Motherhood in Prison
Motherhood in Prison
Women are now the fastest growing group among incarcerated persons in the United States. With approximately 6 percent to 10 percent of incarcerated women pregnant, the intersection of pregnancy and incarceration is an important issue.
Despite the increase in women in prison in recent years, the necessary measures have not been taken to provide decent medical care to the most vulnerable women in prisons.
The majority of women in prison and detention, with a median age of 34, are in their reproductive years. Between 5% and 10% of pregnant women enter prison or jail, and 2,000 infants are delivered to jailed mothers each year. Pregnancy and delivery are routinely treated in ways that would be regarded improper in any other context because of the mother's position as an offender.
Correctional facilities, being a historically male-dominated institution, frequently fail to meet the requirements of jailed women. These requirements include adequate medical health care in general, but one of the most concerning parts of the problem is the lack of prenatal care, or essential psychological care prior to and after pregnancy.
The most significant problems at this time in women's prisons
The prison health-care system was designed with a predominantly male jail population in mind. As a result, although most jail health treatment is barely acceptable at best for men, it falls considerably further short of fulfilling the fundamental needs of women. Pregnant women's care is significantly worse, given their increased health demands.
Children are typically put in foster or kinship care when their moms are jailed. For jailed moms, maintaining a strong bond with their children throughout their time in prison is a challenge.Bonding is necessary for children to be able to create bonds later in life, therefore keeping mothers and newborns together is also beneficial to their development.
Pregnant women are typically transported to community-based doctors for prenatal care, and women in labor are sent to medical institutions for delivery, as most correctional institutions lack on-site obstetric care. Women are routinely chained with handcuffs, leg irons, and/or waist chains throughout travel, labor, birth, and post-delivery, however rules differ by jurisdiction.