Strengthening Families through Indiana Women's Prison
Children whose parents have been incarcerated are seven times more likely to be re-incarcerated themselves. Last night when watching the second installment of Babies Behind Bars, a TLC program featuring Indiana Women's Prison, this poignant statistic jumped out at me. I was able to see both installments of the program (if you missed it, you can catch a rerun of last week's program later this month). As an expectant mother, the show evoked emotion for Rebecca in particular, who delivered her baby during the course of last night's show.
Babies Behind Bars provides an enlightening view into the life of mothers and their families through the lens of the correctional system, a life I had not thought much about until joining the Women's Fund team. Women's Fund has provided support to programs focused on strengthening family ties at the Indiana Women's Prison since 1999. Our support has included grants totaling almost $150,000:
- $5,000 in 1999 for development and provision of the Youthful Offenders Program, offering age-appropriate mental health services for young offenders.
- $20,000 in 2004 for operating support.
- $50,000 in 2005 to establish a Family Outreach Coordinator position within the Family Preservation Program. This staff member was dedicated to focus on increasing the type and quality of services offered by the program.
- $49,549 in 2007 to document the success of the Family Preservation Program. The data was to be used to secure additional funding to continue the program; the remainder of the grant funded child development training and education.
- $25,000 in 2010 to support the Family Preservation Program and Wee Ones Nursery.
Three OPTIONS Classes have also granted a total of $5,500 for supplies and materials related to the Family Preservation Program and Wee Ones Nursery.
Women's Fund supports these programs as we know that many offenders will one day rejoin our society, outside the correctional system. Women who participate in the Family Preservation Program and Wee Ones Nursery have much lower recidivism rate, which can be attributed in part to the bonds they have developed with their children. This support enables women to achieve success and meets our central purpose: to provide options and opportunities for women and girls.
Cheryl Hanna-Truscott, CNM: www.protectivecustody.org
Wheeler Mission Ministries, www.wheelermission.org