<h1>Blog & News</h1>
March 1, 2011

Babies Behind Bars on TLC

by Kelly Young

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.



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28 Comments

Ricky
Monday, January 27
I was wanting to know how can I get in contact with Donna Jones? I am wanting to help her and her family out. Can anyone please give me any info on this and how to contact her?
bree
Tuesday, August 20
sad
Jessica RANDOLPH
Friday, July 19
I WAS A MEMBER OF THE WEE ONES PROGRAM AND HAD MY SON DUMAREON THERE.WE WERE THERE TILL HE WAS FIVE MONTHS OLD WHEN I WAS RELEASED. I HAVE ONE OF THE STRONGEST BONDS WITH HIM BECAUSE OF THAT. SINCE THEN HE HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED A DISEASE CALLED LCH. WE HAVE BEEN FIGHTING TUMORS AND OTHER SIDE EFFECTSOF THEDISEASE SINCE MAY 20012.HE IS UNDERGOING CHEMO THERAPY FOR THE TUMORS .THIS HAS ALSO MADE OUR BOND ALOT STRONGER. IVE HAD A LITTLE GIRL ALESSIA WHOSE 18 MO OLD SINCE THEN TOO. SO IM PRETTY BUSY WITH ALL THAT COMES WITH IT HOWEVEVER ID NEVER TRADE IT FOR ANYTHING ELSE.
Yolanda Cooper
Friday, February 22
The show came on today and will be on again in the morning. My grandma (Sue) was on the show... Not as a mother... But she was a Nanny. She recently passed away and I'm just wondering if anyone knows where I can get a hard copy of it. Since she was released from prison I didn't get to see her much and would just like to have the video. If anyone knows any info please share. Thank you
Rachel
Thursday, February 21
I was wondering if you know. Did the young girl named Donna ever get a place on the Wee Ones Ward? Please let me know one way or the other. Thank you.
Angela
Monday, January 7
To Donna Jones

I am interested in how things are going for you now. Did you have a girl or boy, name? what about dad are you and your baby still together?

Thanks
Angela
Fawn
Thursday, June 21
I also forgot to ask, since this aired have any other prisons began programs like this?
Fawn
Thursday, June 21
I am very curious if this program has worked to help women to not go back? I am also very curious if Donna ever did get into the Wee Ones Program? The last episode I saw she was trying to overturn the decision. If she did what did she have and has she since been released? Is everything going okay for her? Is she still with her husband? She reminds me allot of myself when I was younger and something about her just really touched me. I would really like to know the answers to these questions. I can't even imagin being in the situation of having to give up my children hours after their birth. I have an amazing bond with my children and could not think of not having that. I have made more than a few mistakes in my life, more than a few stupid decisions, and more than a few things that could have turned out worlds different than they did. The only difference between me and the women in prison or in the baby dorms is that I was never arrested. Since having my children my life is so much different than it was in the past and without my children and the ability to have the bond with them that I do who knows what would have happened to me. To all those of you who say this is horrible and should never be allowed please think of these things: if you were in their position would you want your child taken from you 24 hours after they were born? Do you really have the right to judge the mistakes of another without having stood in their shoes? Also remember this as you are bashing this, it is run on donations and grants, NOT OUT OF YOURS, MINE, OR ANYONES TAX MONEY! Maybe if more prisons had these types of programs you would see less women going back over and over and over again! Thank you for trying to help these woman make a better life for themselves and their children!
Knikki
Thursday, March 22
Before seeing this program I had a very heated discussion with my closest friend on this topic. I will admit I was not in favor of individuals having these types of privileges, so when I saw the tv show on as I was flipping through the channels, I stopped to watch. I was sure that my views would be validated and I would be disgusted with the show. I don't know how long I had been watching, but not long, and I was in tears. I forgot that there are real people who simply made mistakes behind bars not monsters. I have made a few mistakes in my life thankfully none that landed me behind bars. I am a mother to two girls and can't imagine how my life would turn out if someone took my children. God bless this program! I was also elated to see that some of those who went through the program left comments on this page. Good luck to you!
sarah
Wednesday, March 21
Hi today was my first time watching the show .. I think it is a wonderful program and believe only good things will come from it .. sometimes things happen and no one is perfect everyone deserves a chance and for a lot of women accepted in the program this could be it.
Peggy Sue Johnson
Wednesday, March 21
Hi... I watched your show for the first time today. I would like to get the info to send clothes,blankets etc for these wee ones.
Ty Peggy Sue
Abigail Coleman
Tuesday, March 20
Thank you for your interest in supporting this program. Indiana Women's Prison does accept donations for their Wee Ones Nursery. Items they are most in need of are: new and gently used clothing 0-18 month size, diapers size 0, 1 and 2, wipes, and Dreft detergent. If you would like to donate, please email Wendi with Angel's Wings, at wendi@angelswingsinc.org.

Women's Fund provides support to programs like Wee Ones Nursery and the Family Preservation Program in order to encourage a bond between mothers and their children so that when the mother re-enters society, her success is better supported through and motivated by strong relationships with her children.
WTF
Thursday, March 15
Why are we paying for prisoners to have kids When there are people out there starving and not able to take care of their own kids because they are following the rules, why do prisoners have access to curling irons and anything other than a cot and a toilet and 3 meals?
Tracy Ferguson
Sunday, January 29
As a 24 year old mother I watched this show and it has really touched me. Please send me information so I can donate money, clothes anything needed to the wee ones nursery. i couldn't imagine not havin my baby with me.
Cierra
Thursday, January 26
I love this topic! I saw one of the episodes but missed the last one. I have been assigned a research paper to do on any topic and I have chosen to write about this. I want to research positives and the negatives of this program. I have a few sources so if anyone has any new information on this subject or even some of you mothers that have went through this situation please feel free to email me at cicijo06@gmail.com. Thank you! :)
JESSICA
Wednesday, January 18
I WAS IN THAT SHOW WHEN IT HAPPEN . I HAD MY BABY IN PRISON. SHE IS A HEALTH 2YEAR OLD. IM CURRENTLY WORKING AND TAKING CARE OF MY DAUGHTER. I HAVE NOT BEEN IN TROUBLE SINCE I LEFT PRISON. THIS SHOW GAVE ME A BETTER OUT LOOK ON LIFE, THAT GOING DOWN THE WRONG PATH MY CAUSE ME TO LOOSE EVERYTHING. MY DAUGHTER IS NUMBER ONE IN MY LIFE . I DONT HAVE FRIENDS BECAUSE THEY ARE STILL DOING THE SAME THING BEFORE I WENT TO PRISON. ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS I'M A BETTER PERSON AND VERY HAPPY. THANKS
jane ginthner
Monday, December 5
I was intereseted in donating clothing for the mothers of the wee ones program. If this is possible could you email me your address and a phone number would also be appreciated. many thanks, Jane Ginthner
bobbi brush
Thursday, November 3
i was on the show and very thankful for the wee ones.since leaving iwp me and jazmyn(my daughter) are doing great.i know that i put myself there in prison but that dont mean im a bad person.for all those who know me would tell you that ive got a big heart and would help anyone i can so for the people who want to down the wee ones program and what they do i have a few not so nice words for you but i will keep them to myself.jazmyn and i have a very close bond and because of the show my older daughter wanted to see me.im in college and doing very good.so THANKS wee ones and all the people who take the time to come and do classes with us.
jade
Monday, October 17
i think letting children see their parents in prison or not is good thing, why should parents not go with out seeing their children, yeah they might of done bad in the past but whos to say tht they havent changed
Sarah
Tuesday, July 12
I really enjoyed this programme and found it really interesting, I would love to have found out in particular how Donna got on and if she and her husband are reunited
I wish then luck
chandell
Friday, May 6
I enjoyes the show I love the fact that these moms get a second chance at being a mom I wish they had this when my mom was in jail.they have this program in africa also it is not a bad thing. Just because they are in jail they still deserve a chance at being a mom kudos to. TLC
Jessica Cross
Tuesday, May 3
I kind of feel wat that girl w/ the C.P. is feeling because I've had close ones, not my mom, but it was family in jail and I have C.P.
Sarah Hundley
Tuesday, May 3
I was actually the second person to have a baby in the Wee Ones program at Indiana Womens Prison. At that time they did not have a pediatrician so I could not keep my daughter. I still am so thankful for the program because my daughter is happy and healthy at 3 years old. I honestly believe she would not be here if not for the caring people of the Wee Ones program. Also I am tremendously happy for the girls that get the chance of their lives!
donna jones
Tuesday, May 3
my name is donna i was on babies behind bars im so thankful for the wee ones program but i find it sad for the women who dont understnad no one is perfect everyone does illegel things in their life but not everyone gets caught..the wee ones program is a fundational program we dont use tax payers money..better for our kids to be with us then strangers that could be maken the same mistakes..so please kniow what your talking bout before you put us down
Brian Toney
Wednesday, April 6
I am very appauled that you would even make a TV show about this garbage. I hate how you portray these criminals as victims. For example the one mother was unable to have any family with her during the birth because her family lived four hours away. Why dont you focus on the lives these woman have destroyed such as their famlies or victims of crimes they have committed. The real victims are their children because look at the trash they have as a mother. THEY ARE CRIMINALS lets not forget that. What a waste of tax dollars, we should be spending the money on birth control or hysterectomy's. Lets not forget these woman made the choice to break the law.
Gara
Thursday, March 10
I was there. I had a daughter at IWP. The program wasn't as extended as it is now but I did have the chance to bond with my daughter. I was allowed to see all of my children on the campus for four hours at a time. They gave me the chance to be a mother although I was in a terrible situation. Granted I put myself there. The women and ministers involved with IWP did everything in their power to make sure I did not lose touch with my babies! I truly love them all. If not for the Wee Ones program and IWP's support system I truly don't know where my babies would have ended up. Thank you so very much for caring for those who lost the will to care for themselves until it is too late!! You are Angels on Earth!
Cyndi
Friday, March 4
The show had me and my husband hooked. I just can't believe that these woman would give up seeing their kids that they had before the show. It is truly sad that it took them going to jail and having a baby behind bars jsut to give them their wake-up call. I would not trade watching my kids grow up fro anything.
Kaydia
Friday, March 4
Saw it last night. It had me hooked! It is a really good show. I feel it for these women and hope that thier lives will be turned around.