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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: June 25, 2018 02:11 PM
From: Representative Patty Kim
To: All House members
Subject: Dignity for Incarcerated Women and Parents Package: Providing Alternative Postpartum Housing for Incarcerated Mothers
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would require state correctional institutions to create a specialized housing unit for incarcerated women and their infants postpartum. The bill is part of a legislative package by the Legislative Black Caucus’s Women and Girls of Color Subcommittee to bring more dignity to incarcerated women and parents.

A baby’s healthy development depends on a loving, consistent bond with a primary caregiver – usually a parent. Increasing evidence in developmental psychology and neurobiology shows that neglect, parental inconsistency and a lack of love can lead to long-term mental health problems for a child. Therefore, it is crucial that infants born to incarcerated mothers are given the best chance to develop the strong familial bonds that are important to helping them grow into happy, independent and resilient adults.

My legislation would require the Department of Corrections to provide an alternative housing unit for women who give birth while incarcerated in a state prison. The unit would allow the woman and her infant to live together for up to 18 months in an environment that supports mother-child bonding and that provides access to postnatal care and child care while the woman completes her treatment, training or work assignments. Offering the appropriate care and support to incarcerated mothers and their babies will help them more successfully transition back into the community and the workforce upon their release.

Please join me in sponsoring this legislation to give babies born in prison the best chance at a healthy, well-adjusted life with their mothers.

Introduced as HB2566