Mother’s Bond by Melissa Belanger
Incarcerated parents face a multitude of issues while inside—from adverse conditions of confinement affecting the health of pregnant women, to a dissolution of family bonds when a parent disappears from the lives of young children. Parents and children lack adequate visiting support, education, and alternatives that would promote strong families and unbroken communities, and reduce the trauma of family separation.
Currently, security trumps the humane treatment of women who are pregnant and/or postpartum. Women can be shackled during transport to offsite appointments, directly after birth, and during postpartum follow up appointments. In addition women are not allowed to breastfeed in visiting rooms in men’s or women’s prisons. And, there is no breastfeeding program for women who want to provide the best sustenance to their already trauma-exposed Infants.
Our objective is to mitigate the generational trauma caused by incarceration. In order to address this issue, MI-CEMI, under the leadership of the American Friends Service Committee, Detroit Justice Center, the ACLU of Michigan and Safe & Just Michigan will advance evidence-based policies and practices that ban shackle use, allow for more bonding time in hospital, establish a breastfeeding, pumping, storage and distribution program, and enhance and fund more visitation programs so children can spend time with their incarcerated parents.