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, May 12, 2009

Report Takes A Nationwide Look At Prison Nurseries

The Sentencing Project

“Are there really babies in prison?”

At the Women’s Prison Association (WPA), hardly a week passes without us receiving an inquiry to this effect. Not surprisingly, the image of babies – cute, joyful, innocent – residing in our popular culture’s image of prisons – harsh, scary, full of “offenders” – arouses a great deal of curiosity. People who contact us want to know: What happens when a woman has a baby in prison? Which states have prison nursery programs? And are they a good thing?
In this report, WPA highlights two different responses to women who give birth while under criminal justice supervision: prison nurseries and community-based residential parenting programs. We provide an overview of both types of programs1, review the literature on the subject, and offer recommendations for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers.
Between 1977 and 2007, the number of women in prison in the United States increased by 832 percent.2 According to data released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), in 2004 four percent of women in state prisons and three percent of women in federal prisons were pregnant at the time of admittance.3 In 1999, BJS reported that six percent of women in local jails were pregnant at the time of admittance.4 As the number of women in prison has skyrocketed over the past 30 years, states have had to consider what it means to lock up women, many of whom are pregnant or parenting.