Minnesota- The 1st State To Stop Taking Newborns from Jailed Mothers

minnesota prison pregnancies

Minnesota will be the first state to stop the separating for incarcerated mothers and newborns.

In Minnesota, the separation of mothers and new borns will end! The benefits of this new legislation are crucial to prison reform and for the wellbeing of the women in prisons.

Minnesota prisons
Hédi Benyounes

Minnesota stops separating incarcerated moms from newborns

Minnesota Governor, Tim Walz, signed off the law that stops taking newborns from mothers in jail. This is the first state in the country to have such a program.

Mothers and newborn children will enter a community program for up to a year. So far, there are no other states with similar legislations.

What Is This New Program?

The law will allow incarcerated pregnant women or women who have just given birth to go into community alternatives programs. Some of these programs include halfway houses.

The women will be under supervision in addition to having treatment throughout the duration of the pregnancy. The mothers will be able to keep their new baby for a year after the birth. 

Currently, pregnant women in prison give birth in a hospital then return to prison just 3 days after. Before separation, the infants only have about 2-3 days with their moms.

It is the belief that this program will help reduce postpartum depression and allow for bonding during critical periods of development for the infant.

Additionally, the new policy will help decrease recidivism rates among inmates. This means that it will be less likely for inmates to become repeat offenders upon release.

separating mothers and babies

How Common Is It For Women To Give Birth In Jail?

In Minnesota, about 20 inmates a year give birth while incarcerated. These babies are almost immediately taken from their mothers. In addition, to the new moms having to carry out the rest of their sentence.

According to Pregnancy in Prison, in 22 state prisons across the country, there were 1400 pregnant admitted inmates in 1 year. Approximately 4% of the new inmates were pregnant and almost all of them resulted in live births.

Moreover, there is approximately 1.8 million women arrested each year which would mean nearly 55,000 of these admissions are pregnant people.

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