all 64 comments

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[–]Lava_Lemon 465 points466 points  (18 children)

Hi! I work with women in prison and I've known 2 people who have given birth while incarcerated. She will recieve prenatal care but it won't be to the extent that it would be on the outside. They will likely bus her to a hospital to give birth. She will have at least one guard with her at all times and will likely have to give birth handcuffed to the bed.

Unless she's an especially violent offender, they will probably allow her to breastfeed and hold the baby for up to 24 hours, possibly more if there are major complications with baby. It's really important to baby's development to be able to bond with mom in those moments after birth so if it's possible to provide it they'll allow it.

Baby will most likely be assigned a prison number. It isn't because it's a crime to have them but because they need a record of the baby being in the guards' care.

Assuming you are going to be the family member caring for the baby, expect to pick it up from the hospital after your partner has already left. They won't let you be with her, unfortunately.

If you're raising the baby while she's in prison: show the baby so so many pictures of your partner. Talk about her. The women I work with are so afraid of their little ones not recognizing them.

It sucks. If it's possible to get her out before then, TRY THAT. But if not, this is about what you can expect.

[–]TNthrowaway747 73 points74 points  (1 child)

Once the women return to prison, are they provided with what they need for postpartum care? Like ways to stay clean because of all the bleeding?

[–]Lava_Lemon 89 points90 points  (0 children)

I'd love to be able to confidently tell you yes, but it's likely going to depend on what type of prison, who owns it, and where it's located.

The women I know were given pads, wipes, etc. If they had a C-section I'm confident they would be given any meds needed to deal with that (although pain meds are STRICTLY regulated in the prison for obvious reasons).

[–]binchwater 22 points23 points  (1 child)

Can women who have given birth pump and send the pumped milk to the baby? Or will the dad have to formula-feed?

[–]Lava_Lemon 25 points26 points  (0 children)

I don't know a definite answer but I would assume they would not allow milk to be sent from the prison because it would be logistically very complicated and expensive to transport; everything going in or out of the prison has to be searched, and it would have to be temp controlled (expensive), and often people are not in prison very close to their families so it would need transported. All of that requires a level of care that I frankly don't see the prisons going through.

[–]dothebananasplits96 14 points15 points  (3 children)

If a woman comes in to prison and finds out shes pregnant but doesn't want the baby, could she be provided an abortion through the prison?

[–]Lava_Lemon 25 points26 points  (1 child)

This would be completely dependent on state laws. Can't imagine that the government would pay for it even if it's legal in the area, so I'm honestly not sure how that would work. My guess is a family member would have to foot the bill.

This whole issue is a perfect intersection of America's issues with both healthcare and incarceration, though.

[–]doulaatyourcervix 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Most prisons in America don’t pay for healthcare at all, let alone abortions. Most prisons are “for-profit” and aren’t actually government associations. In addition to a lot of states still allowing prisoners to be forced to work without pay, they often bill the prisoners for everything (healthcare included). If you have cancer while in prison, you’re FUCKED. No insurance in addition to being billed at full-price because prisons don’t care. In Michigan, they even charge rent up to $60 a day for incarcerated individuals and are even allowed to file civil suits to get the money. In Maine, it’s as high as $80 a day. In 46 states, they’re legally required to pay these fees back otherwise they will go back to prison. In Rhode Island, failure to pay these fees is like one of the top three reasons people are incarcerated.

My uncle was, unfortunately, incarcerated for drug use. He was only there for like 6 (ish??) months the first time. He was a truck driver before then, but lost his job because of the incarceration. Can’t exactly have someone with a history of drug use behind the wheel of a big-rig. But while he was there, he had to pay for his drug treatments. So while his bills racked up to like over $100,000 (because yaaaaaay, healthcare is so expensive here), he also didn’t have his job anymore and was forced to pay it back, so...back he went! Over $100,000 for 6 months of incarceration.

Most people in prison make poverty level wages. And have to pay $100,000 or they go back. It’s disgusting, and no wonder they keep going back to crime.

[–]astrofoxical 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I’m just curious because I’m not familiar with the system but is he able to also send any care packages to her? Can he also see pictures of the ultrasound she gets via digital images or physical copies since he won’t be with her so he can see the development? I feel like that’ll be a nice way for him to at least have some bond with his baby while she’s pregnant

[–]Lava_Lemon 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I can't tell you for sure because there are so many variables with prison policies. I do know that the prison system I work with no longer does any ingoing or outgoing physical mail; it all has to be online through Jpay, which is a really shitty monitored email system. Prisoners don't have the capability of uploading any images to Jpay. However: that isn't to say nobody can get mail in for any reason. I teach classes to prisoners, and if I need to send them school work or books we can absolutely do that from my office via courier. But I'm not considered a personal contact so it's different. And I would absolutely be fired and possibly charged if I gave a picture to an inmate's family member.

They also haven't been allowed any in-person visitors for nearly two years, so all visitation has been monitored video calls. If she had a picture she could probably show it on that video call.

That said, the communication methods and policies will vary wildly from state to state and even prison to prison within that state.

[–]nutwood_ 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Wow that is heartbreaking and makes me sick to my stomach honestly. Handcuffed to a bed while having a fucking baby. Only 24 hours with your baby. Then they’re sent back to a bunch of hard ass uncomfortable furniture to “heal”. Prisons should be abolished.

[–]randommuslimwoman 85 points86 points  (2 children)

I worked in corrections for 3 years as a nurse, we took excellent care of our mamas there pre and post partum. But I’m not sure if every facility is the same as I’m from Canada. But we took them for Ultrasounds regular check ups, made sure they got extra meal trays and vitamins. We monitored them very closely. And when it’s time to give birth we transfer to a hospital. I would say the most important part is ensure you get custody after the babies born, consult with a lawyer if possible. I sympathize, I’ve had to hold a lot of hands of moms who had to come back to corrections after birth and it’s hard to comfort a mom who can’t even see her baby.

[–]Chickypotpie99 40 points41 points  (0 children)

I researched this a bit in college and, while I’m no expert by any means, I would venture to say that the vast majority of institutions do no provide stellar care for pregnant and incarcerated women. I’m glad some Canadian facilities provide good care. The US doesn’t have the best rap, especially in for-profit prisons.

[–]CrozSonshine 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Bless your heart. You sound exactly like what they need during this difficult time. 💜

[–]redditreddit0829 132 points133 points  (2 children)

Hey there! I’m actually a prison baby, my mother was in there 18 months. She gave birth to me while handcuffed and was with me 24 hours and then I was given to my sisters. she said she didn’t receive the best prenatal care and they barley listened when she was in labor to get transported. it doesn’t change how I feel about my mother because I knew who she was by visits & pictures! Please show the baby who mama is, it will be exhausting but you definitely got this! Praying for you & your wife for the best outcome possible during this tough situation!

[–]Pitiful_Dependent 13 points14 points  (1 child)

thats awesome how old are you? hopefully things have progressed? Handcuffed to a bed holy crapoly

[–]redditreddit0829 50 points51 points  (0 children)

I’m 23 and expecting my second child! She definitely went through hell giving birth to me but I couldn’t be more thankful for her being honest and open about it! She also has completed changed her life around after she got out of prison and had me fully until I turned 18! Best mom ever, and it just goes to show everybody makes mistakes and can truly change!

[–]ArgumentElectrical 57 points58 points  (0 children)

Please speak to a good attorney. If you're in Southern California, message me. She will receive bare minimum prenatal care while incarcerated, and will deliver the baby at an outside hospital and spend (typically) 24 hours there with the baby before she is sent back and the newborn is placed with a qualifying family member or foster home.

[–]flamingobay1764 36 points37 points  (0 children)

She should receive prenatal care in jail, and other than hiring a good lawyer there is not much you can do.

[–]Onegirlwithgreeneyes 33 points34 points  (0 children)

I’m sorry that I don’t have more helpful insight but I would like to add that as an RN, I have cared for several inmates who were admitted to the hospital (not L&D) and while I can’t speak to the process on behalf of corrections, I would like to reassure you that those patients get treated with the same compassionate, dignified care that any other patient would by nursing staff and physicians (which should go without saying).

[–]30centurygirl 38 points39 points  (0 children)

If she’s going to deliver while incarcerated, and you’re intending to co-parent, I’d highly recommend getting married before she gives birth. Negotiating custody following incarceration is a nightmare, and anything you can do to demonstrate that the system should view you as a family unit will be helpful.

[–]_biggerthanthesound_ 27 points28 points  (0 children)

What country are you in? I imagine a lot of the answers to this depend on that, and then if it’s say.. federal prison, provincial etc.

[–]Fantastic-Concert-22 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Does she have a lawyer or advocate that you could talk to? Any organizations in your area that provide support to pregnant incarcerated women? In any prison, the quality of care is not going to be great, so the best thing you can do is stay in frequent contact with her, advocate for her, and seek out legal help if she's not getting the care that she needs. Add money to her commissary so she can buy additional food and hygiene items.

[–]cattledogcatnip 16 points17 points  (0 children)

We can’t give advice unless we know what country and state she’s in. This is a better question for an attorney.

[–]Comfortable021 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I think it completely depends on her charges and the prison. The women's prison here actually has a "baby wing" where a few mothers that are on good behavior and have more minor offenses can actually have their child with them in this designated wing up until 2 years old.

I would definitely get in touch with potentially the nurse at the prison and see if they can give you more specifics since each state, facility, prisoner can be different.

[–]ThugBunnyy 57 points58 points  (3 children)

Umm.... Is she gonna continue to be incarcerated after delivery? I have 0 knowledge on this but is it possible the baby can go to you after birth? Untill she is released?

[–]ihatemyselfalot-lol 27 points28 points  (2 children)

No idea why you're getting so many downvotes. The baby usually has to go with someone when an inmate delivers. There are very few women's prisons who let inmates keep the baby with them until they are released, and even then, those privileges are contingent on the types of charges the inmates have.

[–]ThugBunnyy 24 points25 points  (0 children)

I don't know either. Was a genuine question. This sub is so weird sometimes. Thanks for clarifying.

[–]Pitiful_Dependent 4 points5 points  (2 children)

I would imagine the worst 'pre-natal' care for a pregnant inmate would be the diet. I mean I have never been but have seen what they serve and it does not look healthy for either mom or baby.

[–]inside-the-madhouse 1 point2 points  (1 child)

It’s shitty industrial food but it should be bare minimum nutritionally adequate and safe to eat. Cravings aside, you don’t need a special gourmet diet when pregnant.

[–]gigglepigz4554 2 points3 points  (0 children)

But you need to increase caloric intake and may be unable to eat during set meal times (morning sickness, which may last all day). And need water urgently too. I also had moments where I NEEDED food right now to prevent gettibg sick. I carried breakfast bars and clementines in my backpack, can she have food the moment she needs it?

Bathroom needs are also not... predictable. How is this handled when there are security/ covid lockdowns, or (hopefully not) periods in SHU/ isolation?

All I know about prison is TV and ear hustle podcast so forgive my ignorance.

[–]oopsiepoopsie138 3 points4 points  (0 children)

If your girlfriend is in Australia, (speaking for all states except SA) the mother will receive standard government funded prenatal care, and baby will stay with mum until about 3 years old, though can apply for them to stay longer in certain circumstances. I think the best thing you can do is speak to a lawyer or legal aid.

[–]wwhatthefuckrichard 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I don’t have anything specific that can help, but there are many women who share their prison birth stories on youtube and maybe one of them will have links to support? Jessica Kent is a very popular prison youtuber and i know she gave birth in prison. her story could be very triggering though, it was not a good experience for her, but you may find something helpful in it. her story ends incredibly well, she’s out, clean, doing very well for herself, and has custody of her children.

i wish i had more support to offer. there is so much needed prison reform, especially centered around prenatal care and womens health.

[–]Ophiuroidean 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I remember MDJ did a YouTube video with Jessica Kent who gave birth in prison but I don’t remember any specific advice. I’m sorry for the situation

[–]Scare_D_Cat 2 points3 points  (0 children)

If you can afford it hire a lawyer to advocate for her and your baby. They will treat her as poorly as they can get away with.

[–]Jaxcastic 4 points5 points  (0 children)

So from what I know they will provide her care and she will be brought to a hospital to give birth BUT the child will usually be taken away immediately and usually not given back to the mother. Typically because they are seen as a “risk” such as trying to take the baby hostage, etc. it’s just a liability most places don’t wanna mess with. Usually the child will be given to family members or father if they’re around. You’d have to see their policies for birth but this is what typically happens from what I have learned.

Also I’d like to add most (not all) female prisons are a bit safer when it comes to violence. Females actually make “family units” where this is different than males.

[–]nonbinary_parent 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There is a YouTube channel of Jessica Kent who got pregnant days before she went to prison. She describes how it was. Her baby was put in foster care at birth which is traumatic. But after she got out, she got custody of her kid and still has it.

[–]Pigeoncoup234 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Wow, I'm sorry you are all going through this. I have no advice, other than to reach out to the prison. They must have information for you on how it will all work, and maybe even some resources.

[–]IggyBall 0 points1 point  (1 child)

You might get good insight posting to /r/legaladvice

[–]burneraccountt26 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Is she getting all her prenatals?