Convict Mothers Raising Newborns in Prison?

A look at various bills being considered in Hartford.


Lawmakers are considering legislation that would study the feasibility of allowing female offenders who give birth in prison to care for their children on site.

State Rep. DebraLee Hovey, a Republican representing Newtown and in the 112th House District, is one of several co-sponsors who support the idea of a nursery facility at the Connecticut Correctional Institution in Niantic.

Susan Quinian, Executive Director of the nonprofit Families in Crisis, Inc. said passage of HB 5288 would help strengthen vulnerable families.

“When offenders go to jail their families do time too,” Quinian said in testimony before the Judiciary Committee. “Offenders who do not have positive family support often re-offend and tragically studies who that their children are more likely to repeat the cycle. The economic and social costs to our citizens and communities are enormous.”

Leo C. Arnone, Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, also supports the bill.

“Research clearly points to the importance of the mother-child emotional and psychological bonds and the fact that strong familial ties factor heavily in successful reentry into the community and lower recidivism rates,” Arnone said in his testimony.


As the U.S. Supreme Court considers the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, the Public Health Committee is considering creating working group to address certain aspects of the Act.

State Rep. Vicki Nardello, a Democrat representing Bethany, Cheshire and Prospect in the 46th House District, sits on the committee and will consider HB 5527.  

The proposed legislation would create a working group comprised of Commissioner of Public Health, the president of the Connecticut Public Health Association, and representatives of hospitals, health care providers, community health centers and local health departments to study and make recommendations for funding to strengthen community health programs under Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care act. 

The working group would have until Jan. 1, 2013 to present findings.

“Connecticut ahs the fourth highest per capita healthcare spending in the country,” Katherine Lewis, Advocacy Committee Co-chair and President-elect of the Connecticut Public Health Association, said in testimony before the Health Committee. Because of that, Lewis said the proposal to form a working group is “prudent and timely.”


“If you want to buy alcohol, you need to show a photo ID,” said , a Republican representing Fairfield in the 134th House District. “What is so unreasonable about asking for a photo ID to vote?”

Hwang, who sits on the Government Administration and Election Committee, said allowing people to register to vote on Election Day was just one of several proposed changes to the state’s election laws. But it is the most controversial.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Secretary of the State of Connecticut Denise Merrill support the bill, which will be debated on the House floor. The bill would require proof of address, including copies of utility bills to register. The Republicans wanted the bill to require registrants show photo identification.

Hwang said because one needs a photo ID to apply for many state benefits, it isn’t onerous to require a photo ID to vote.

“The opposition argues asking for an ID disenfranchises the elderly or a minority population of the population who don’t drive and have drivers licenses, If you don’t one, we [the state] will provide one for you,” Hwang said.

Only eight states allow same day registration and 30 states require photo IDs.

Lance Coughlin March 26, 2012 at 04:38 PM
They should perform tubal locations at the prison as well, and offer early release to those willing to undergo the procedure.
Doreen Boudreau Hausler March 26, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Wow. Did you just suggest early release from prison to women who undergo tubal "LIGATIONS"? Really?
Lise Cavallaro March 26, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I don't think that any child should be raised in that environment.
Bob Fawkes March 26, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Thank you, Dr. Mengele.
Doreen Boudreau Hausler March 26, 2012 at 05:08 PM
I guess my questions would include: Does it matter what the offender is serving time for? Or, would all lawbreakers qualify for this "early release" if they are willing to go through this procedure, no matter how severe the crime? Also... Can we be fair and demand that male offenders (of which, percentage wise, there are many more) get vasectomies? That would be equal treatment, yes? I think so. But, then what do we do with the women who are ALREADY pregnant... Which is what the feasibility study is looking into. NOT what to do with female offenders reproductive organs? Riddle me that. Unbelievable.
Luigi (the original) March 26, 2012 at 05:13 PM
I'm glad it's not just me. Even in my conservatism this sounds ludicrous. Genocide in the twenty first century, WOW! Are you sure Gallo didn't get these gals pregnant, I know you wouldn't put it past him!
Doreen Boudreau Hausler March 26, 2012 at 05:15 PM
I agree, Lise. What does that have to do with Lance's suggestion? Or, my questions? I'm not saying a woman who commits a crime would be a great mom, necessarily. However, I'd consider that on a case by case basis. I certainly would not want the government or ANYONE demanding what becomes of my body. Or, anyone else's.
Lou March 26, 2012 at 05:20 PM
The scumbag up the street from me went to jail on 2 seperate occasions and birthed 2 children in jail. Now she is out, receives free healthcare, state aid, and utility bill relief. She also gets her nails done, goes tanning, has an iphone, and vacations regularly. As far as I am concerned I shouldn't be paying for this, she should be forced to work.
Doreen Boudreau Hausler March 26, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Fine. Demand that. I don't blame you for being upset about that. But what was suggested above is simply not the solution.
Lise Cavallaro March 26, 2012 at 05:31 PM
That's disgusting. But, I'm not all that surprised.
Lise Cavallaro March 26, 2012 at 05:32 PM
I don't know where my comment went, but if the woman is already pregnant, like my post said, the woman has made her choice that crime was more important and the child should be able to be adopted or maybe raised by a competent family member. No child should be raised in jail. I don't know if I agree with tubal ligation or vasectomies. It would have to be a serious crime like child molestation, murder or rape. The government is involved in way too much already.
Doreen Boudreau Hausler March 26, 2012 at 05:33 PM
I understand, Lise. (Weird. I see now that you're comment is gone, too.) I agree that raising a child in prison is certainly not ideal. There are many things wrong with society that need work. Too much to go into here. Education...Personal Accountability..etc. I strongly agree that the government is controlling plenty already. And, suggesting we mandate tubal ligation in exchange for anything is absolutely horrid to me.
Luigi (the original) March 26, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Doreen I agree that "the final solution" as purposed above is ludicrous. That maybe where our agreement ends. Personally I have no sympathy for most of these women. They are by and large crack addicted career criminals. Most of these pregnancies were the by-product of their money making criminal activities. Unfortunately we get stuck footing the bill. Regardless of my personal distain for these women, we are obligated as a "civilized" nation to care for their broods. I do think though, that these kids should be either put in the care of their own families or put up for adoption if no one comes forward.
Becki Pastor March 26, 2012 at 06:45 PM
There is much evidence to suggest (I have researched this before posting by reading several articles on the subject) that having a baby while incarcerated and raising the baby at least for the first year does several things: it helps a baby bond to his/her Mother thus creating connections (dendrites) in the brain to strengthen bonds to other people thus avoiding sociopathic behavior later on in life; it helps Mothers who commit crime to have a positive disciplined focus while in prison which in turn greatly reduces recidivism; and it also has a calming effect on the inmate population as a whole. While not ideal, there are many children born in prison. It happens and in greater numbers than we can imagine. If done properly, by making a separate space for these Mothers and children it can be done safely for the babies themselves. And further I might wonder if it is even cheaper to have the babies with their Mothers rather than paying a Foster Parent a stipend and a State Social Worker to follow that baby. And as for Lance, shame on you. And Lou, anyone who abuses the system is shameful. My question has always been who's responsibility is it to monitor abuses?? I had a neighbor who was doing so and called DSS. I had a friend who was disabled who was receiving food stamps who was in the hospital for a year and her husband was using her food stamps, I called DSS.
Julie Weisberg (Editor) March 26, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Lise: I'm sorry that your comment has, once again, disappeared. I did not remove it. And since this seems to be a new pattern with your comments, I'm wondering of there is some sort of bug associated with your account – which is strange, but stranger things have happened online. So, I'll be following up with our tech people to see if we can correct the issue. To be continued...
Flowers March 26, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Tuba thefts have increased significantly in California with the new popularity of Mexican banda music.


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