Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mothers Rocking The Prison Cradle

by Marian Wright Edelman
NNPA Columnist
Originally posted 6/24/2008

Many mothers who experience childbirth are coached through labor in a hospital maternity ward with supportive doctors and nurses. Their husbands may capture the birth with a video camera. After the baby’s bawling first breaths, mother and child bond in a joyous embrace.

Childbirth is not so joyous for the growing number of women who give birth behind bars. It is a time of humiliation, sadness and separation. Before, during, and after delivery, prison mothers are commonly shackled. No one is there to take those first baby pictures. And the infant may be whisked away by a social worker to be given to a family member to raise, or if they are less fortunate, the child goes to foster care. The mother returns to an eight foot by 12 foot prison cell to grieve. The bond between mother and child is broken at the moment of delivery.

There are about 1.2 million parents incarcerated in federal or state prisons or local jails in the United States. The number of mothers in prison grew 88 percent from 1991 to 2002. While relatively few women who are incarcerated give birth behind bars, about two-thirds of female inmates are mothers of minor children. Most women are in prison for non-violent offenses, many of them drug related.

Almost 60 percent of mothers in state prisons lived with their children at the time they entered prison. With few procedures or policies that require or facilitate maintaining relationships between mothers and their children, the criminal justice system often breaks families apart.....Steps to institute alternatives to incarcerating mothers will go a long way toward staunching the flow of future generations of young people into the pipeline to prison. Each step we take in that direction will not only be beneficial tomorrow, it will begin to change our society for the better today. Learn about CDF's Cradle to Prison Pipeline® Campaign at: www.childrensdefense.org/cradletoprison
Seattle Medium


Anonymous said...

Wouldnt it be much better to turn the clock back to pre-1991 and quit incarcerating non-violent people. I see nothing in our constitution that says drugs are illegal???
Also prescription drugs are restricted to a docor writing a prescription!! Why on earth are we bombarded with TV ads telling us to buy Viagra, Cialis and how much better our sex life will be. This needs to be left in the doctors office.djw

Anonymous said...


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