Babies Behind Bars on TLC
Last week I watched a program on TLC called Babies Behind Bars. I was intrigued by the name of the program and interested in how the network would portray the Wee Ones Program at the Indiana Women’s Prison. As an OPTIONS Alumnae member, I visited the nursery last year, so I was also interested in seeing whether or not any of the women I met would be featured on the show.
Babies Behind Bars is a two-part special that airs this week on Thursday at 10 p.m. and Friday at 12 a.m. (in case you missed last week's show, it will re-run next week). Click here for the TLC program schedule. The show highlights the Wee Ones Program – a program supported by Women’s Fund. In fact, in 2007, Women’s Fund provided the funding to help with the creation and evaluation of the Wee Ones Nursery, which opened in April 2008. Since its inception, 78 mothers and 62 infants have lived in the nursery.
TLC did a great job of portraying the program and its goal of giving moms an opportunity to bond with their babies and, more importantly, avoid repeat incarceration. Participating mothers are pregnant women who will deliver while incarcerated and be released less than 18 months after delivery.
I must admit, part of the show was tough to watch, like seeing a toddler get patted down by security and watching a woman get shackled within minutes of giving birth to her baby. I was torn by knowing these women committed a crime and were behind bars, but then glad to see them bonding with their babies – such an important part of parenting. The show is a reminder of how prison has impacted these women and hopefully becomes a lesson that prevents them from making a repeat offense.
I’m looking forward to this week’s show, which features a mom who wants to build a bond with her baby and get back the life she lost to drugs, another who wants to become the mom she never was before, and a woman who has to find a way to survive the harsh life in “general population.”
As it turns out, I didn’t recognize any of the women on the show, so I’m hopeful that means they were released and because of Women’s Fund and the Wee Ones Program they are at home being great moms and enjoying the bond they established with their baby behind bars.