The House Judiciary Committee this week combined and advanced two bills that would establish the “Correctional Center Nursery Program” in Missouri. HB 1897, sponsored by Rep. Bruce DeGroot (R - Ellisville), and HB 2414, sponsored by Rep. Curtis Trent (R - Springfield), would allow female inmates who give birth in prison to remain with their infant children for up to eighteen months. The mothers would be required to meet educational and counseling requirements – including completion of a high school equivalency program and participation in evidence-based parenting classes – in order to participate in the program. Research in other states has shown that allowing incarcerated mothers and their children to remain together leads to better outcomes for both, including decreased recidivism rates for the mothers.
The combined bill will now go to the rules committee before going to the entire House. The MCC is in support of the bill.