Oregon’s many prison parenting programs do not include provisions for mothers to raise their babies behind bars. The numbers are striking: according to Coffee Creek Superintendent Nancy Houghton, about 80 percent of her inmates are mothers, and at any given time a dozen or so inmates are pregnant. Houghton says Oregon’s wide variety of programs (for both men and women) do reflect a commitment to maintain family bonds.
Did you do time as a parent of a baby or young child? How did you maintain your family relationships during your sentence? What would you have wanted? Do you work with incarcerated parents or their children? What’s the most fair and effective way for states to support strong family bonds, especially for inmates who are parents of young children?
- SUSIE LEAVELL: Program administrator for Washington state’s Family and Offender Sentencing Alternative
- NANCY HOUGHTON: Superintendent of Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Oregon
- MARC MAUER: Executive director of The Sentencing Project
- SEYMOURA WILSON: 19-year-old participant in the Get on the Bus program, uniting children with their incarcerated parents.