The nursery program at Bedford Hills is one of the oldest functioning prison nurseries in the United States. Bedford Hills allows the incarcerated mothers to keep their newborn for up to one year. They will allow an extension if the mother has less than six months left to serve by the time one year has passed. Mothers there participate in parenting classes both before and after delivery. These classes are planned and taught by specially trained inmates.
A benefit of the nursery program at Bedford Hills is that it has been shown to reduce the recidivism rate for women that partake in the program. By the third year of the three-year study, only 13 percent of the women who participated in the nursery program had returned to prison, compared to the 26 percent of the women who did not partake in the program. Another positive aspect of the nursery program is that many of the women in the program never would have spent this much time with their child, or would have known how to be a good parent, if they were on the outside. The program allows them to spend time with their child while simultaneously teaching them responsibility and proper parenting skills. By having a program that allows them to visit their children, it gives the inmates that are mothers an incentive to behave and in turn makes them easier to control.
Behind bars, keeping mother and child together. (1990, September 23). The New York Times, Retrieved from http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/lnacademic/
Kauffman, K. (2001). Mothers in prison. Corrections Today, Retrieved from http://ehis.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=acfc754d-676d-4c13-a1fa-889a5d124dcf%40sessionmgr112&vid=3&hid=109