More women denied from nursery at Bedford Hills

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For more than a century, New York’s Bedford Hills Correctional Facility has been home to a nursery program that allows women who give birth while incarcerated to stay with their children for up to a year, or 18 months with special permission.

The nursery is an impressive and highly valuable program that allows women to hone their parenting skills and gives babies a chance to form critical attachments to their mothers. It also reduces recidivism.

Unfortunately, in recent years, the CA has found that the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) is denying more and more women entry to the nursery, particularly women who’ve been convicted of violent crimes and women who’ve had child welfare involvement with other children. These denials seems to occur without a thorough evaluation and without strict adherence to the law that governs the nursery, which says that the standard for admission is whether it’s in the child’s best interest.

Given the profound benefits of the nursery to mothers, babies and the community at large, it is essential that as many women as possible have the chance to participate in the program.

We recently spoke with North Country Public Radio reporter Natasha Haverty about our concerns. Click image below to listen to the interview.

The Prison Time Media Project continues, with a profile of one caregiver at Bedford Hills, New York’s maximum-security prison for women.