DECATUR – March 29, 2011 – The Illinois Department of Corrections will celebrate the fourth year of its successful “Moms and Babies” Program on March 30th, 2011 at the Decatur Correctional Center. This program allows offenders to keep their babies after giving birth during their incarceration and no offender who has been part of this program has returned to prison on new charges since the program’s inception.
Giving the mother and child the ability to bond, teaching mothers parenting skills in a supportive environment and working on how to overcome obstacles that offenders may encounter upon release from prison are just a few of the goals of the program. Studies show that success in accomplishing these objectives leads to the mother’s successful re-integration into society and results in lower recidivism rates.
“The program enables the incarcerated mother and her child to build strong and healthy relationships, which will be passed on from generation to generation," said Gladyse Taylor, Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections. "IDOC is encouraged by the success of the ‘Moms and Babies’ program in lowering recidivism rates for incarcerated mothers and will work diligently to maintain these success stories.”
“Since its inception in 2007, 27 mothers and babies have participated in this budget neutral program," said Debbie Denning, Coordinator of Women and Family Services for the Illinois Department of Corrections. "We have been supported by the community in this endeavor; items have been donated, volunteers have worked hard and other state agencies have stepped up and contributed to the success of this program making it a no cost endeavor for taxpayers.”
To be eligible for the program mothers must have a projected release date before the baby turns 24 months old. Pregnant women beginning their incarceration with the Department are carefully screened for eligibility in the program. Fathers are strongly encouraged to visit their children as often as possible and to participate in family programs along with the mother. IDOC also provides other programs for incarcerated mothers at each of its female facilities designed to create and strengthen healthy relationships within the family structure.
IDOC operates 27 prisons throughout Illinois in addition to work camps, boot camps and adult transition centers. The agency is committed to operating a safe and secure prison system as well as enhancing prison-based treatment, prevention programs and the successful reentry of inmates into society which will lead to lowering recidivism rates.