With the number of women behind bars increasing at double the rate of men, the fastest-growing segment of the prison population is also undergoing a surge in the amount of babies born behind bars each year. This video gives you a glimpse inside the Ohio Reformatory for Women’s prison nursery program. There are only nine prison nursery programs in existence across the country, so the opportunity for women to raise their children from birth is rare. These programs only accept women who have committed low-level and non-violent offenses and face under a year-and-a-half incarceration time.
Prison is meant to be a punishment, but life in the nursery is a far cry from the crowded dorms of ORW; complete with inmate nannies, supplies, support, and lessons in how to be a mother. For inmate Heather O’Brian, “I think it’s easier being a mother in prison because out there you have to worry about where are you going to get the diapers from, or how am I going to be able to pay for things. In here, you have a free bed, free food… I can stay clean and take responsibility for my actions, and be able to learn what its like to be able to bond with my child.”
For more, be sure to catch Hard Time: Female Offenders tonight at 10P et/pt.