There is help for mothers who give birth in prison

INDIANA – An innovative program at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health on the IUPUI campus is providing support for mothers and babies in prison for a year after their release.

In partnership with the Indiana Department of Corrections, the “Mothers on the Rise” program provides a coordinated network of support for women who have children in prison and are released to their home communities. It uses a network of relationships with the prison staff, home visit teams, nurse navigators, social workers, and community navigators to help women and their babies.

Under the new program, when mothers and babies are released, they are connected to local community navigators who provide social support. Navigators are trained in education, health care, and social services, and they have a passion to serve mother-baby pairs.

They are also trained to understand the needs of traditionally marginalized groups. Navigators are introduced to mothers prior to their release and work closely with them in their home communities.

They communicate regularly via texts, phone calls, and in-person meetings. Upon release, the mother-baby pair is also provided with $1,000 in basic clothing, hygiene products, and infant care supplies. The women also receive a laptop.

Jack Turman: Directory: About Us: Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public  Health: IUPUI
Jack Turman

Program Director Jack Turman, a professor of social and behavioral sciences, says the kind of support provided by “Mothers on the Rise” is essential to reducing the likelihood of rearrest, reconviction, or a return to prison.

The program is currently in use at the Leath Maternal Child Health Unit at the Indiana Women’s Prison in Indianapolis. To date, 13 mother-baby pairs have transitioned from the prison nursery to the community. All pairs have remained together in the community post-release.

Turman and colleagues recently detailed their efforts at building a successful support program for reentry in the journal Advancing Corrections.

Information: Research Impact