213070 A Community-based Option for Pregnant and Parenting Incarcerated Women

Monday, November 9, 2009: 8:55 AM

Danyell Williams , Riverside Correctional Facility, Philadelphia, PA
Women of childbearing age are the fastest growing segment of the incarcerated population and at present, 80% of incarcerated women are in their childbearing years. Given these trends, a Community-based organization (CBO) serving women and their families in an urban community implemented an innovative program to address the problems faced by women in prison who are pregnant or mothers of young children. The program seeks to improve the health of pregnant and postpartum incarcerated women and their babies, and to help women acquire the resources and parenting skills they need to establish healthy families as they make the transition from prison to home. Housed within the County Jail, four full-time staff serve incarcerated pregnant women and new mothers. During incarceration, services include: peer education; individual case management; doula support during labor and delivery; and caregiver support. Services after release include individual case management and linkage to resources needed for successful re-entry.

Beginning in 2006, the program has served over 200 women. More than two-thirds of participants improved their knowledge of critical prenatal, postpartum and child-related issues and doula staff have attended over 25 births. CBO advocacy efforts have improved nutritional options for pregnant inmates and ended shackling of women during labor and delivery. The programmatic details of providing case-managed services to pregnant and parenting incarcerated women and the advocacy efforts on behalf of women shacked during labor will be examined in detail.

To prevent recidivism, intensive case managed reentry programs may provide the support necessary to enable successful reentry.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the impact of incarceration on women and families. Identify details of an innovative reentry program. Describe advocacy efforts to end shackling during labor.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Director of Philadelphia based program that serves women who are currently at the Riverside Correctional Facility.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.