House Passes Prison Nursery Bill

Nursery

The House this week gave final approval to a bill that would allow children born to incarcerated women to stay with their mothers for up to eighteen months. HB 1897, sponsored by Rep. Bruce DeGroot (R-Ellisville), would allow the Missouri Department of Corrections to establish nurseries in the state’s female correctional facilities. The bill was third read and passed on a near-unanimous vote of 127-1. 

The bill would allow the Department of Corrections to determine which women are eligible for the program. In order to participate, the women must meet educational and counseling requirements, such as completion of a high school equivalency program and participation in evidence-based parenting classes. 

Nearly a dozen states have established prison nursery programs and advocates say that those programs have led to a decrease in recidivism for the mothers and have improved the overall atmosphere and culture of the entire facility. In addition, supporters say that allowing infants to remain with their mothers during such a crucial time in development will lead to better health and emotional outcomes for them as well.

The bill now moves to the Senate. The MCC has testified in support of this bill.

March 11, 2022 - 11:41am
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